Man's house becomes a museum, 100 years after his death
January 18, 2011 8:58 AM   Subscribe

In 1905, a rich French man named Louis Mantin died. He had no children, and had an unusual request in his will: keep his house untouched for 100 years, and then turn it into a museum (English-language link; BBC video). Welcome to the Maison Mantin of Alliers, France (French-language links). If you can't find it, it's right on the Cour des Bénédictins, right next to the surprisingly picturesque former prison (last two links are to images). You have to book ahead by phone.
posted by flibbertigibbet (16 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Love this kind of shit.
posted by Melismata at 9:19 AM on January 18, 2011

Here are the Maison and Mantin links translated into English in case you had as much difficulty in Mme Cormier's class as I did.
posted by vapidave at 9:26 AM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Leave it untouched, or keep it as if it were untouched?

I have to wonder because of the financial ramifications involved. Do you take your somewhat considerable fortune and invest it for 100 years, then take the resulting funds and use much to restore things that have not been cared for in the intervening time while leaving the rest to earn enough interest to sustain the museum and its staff indefinitely? Or is it more cost effective to employ people to dust and otherwise maintain the premises, which diminishes your initial investment capital somewhat, leaving you with exponentially less money but less of a restoration outlay (which will be made at costs based on 100 years of inflation, something unknowable to you).

Which is the more effective strategy? Does it depend on just how much money you have, and if so, where's the break-even point? Mutant? Anybody? Mutant?
posted by Eideteker at 9:42 AM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Foreigners and Experts go in
And through my place
Turn my home into a museum
Like the murder squad
They scan the room
For the well of inspiration
They don't tolerate ordinary folk
and folk look at me strange
But I'll give them this at least
They pay for what they eat
Visitors and peripherers never give
I just want room to live

posted by anazgnos at 9:42 AM on January 18, 2011

Eideteker: I can't imagine the inflation of restoration costs outpacing the awesome power of compounding. Particularly over 100 years. A initial outlay of $100 gets you over $5,000 at 4%.

I mean we're not talking about college tuition here.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:19 AM on January 18, 2011

As to preservation: so long as you winterize (i.e. drain the pipes), seal the windows and pull the curtains closed to stave off sun damage, most things will stay in pretty good shape.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:24 AM on January 18, 2011

Good thing it wasn't in Paris

Though me, I'm Melismata. Again.
posted by IndigoJones at 10:52 AM on January 18, 2011

Wow, so it is possible to buy immortality.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

--"Ozymandias", Percy Bysshe Shelley (1818)
posted by stbalbach at 11:21 AM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, that's quite cool and only 100km away from me. Maybe I'll check it out. Thanks.
posted by carolr at 11:30 AM on January 18, 2011

I am adding this to my itinerary for my next trip to Europe. AWESOMESAUCE. Thank you!
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:55 PM on January 18, 2011

Sir John Soane bites his thumb at these Frenchie parvenus.
posted by tigrefacile at 1:55 PM on January 18, 2011

From the google translation of the Maison page:

A painstaking and daunting to revive a house worn by a long sleep. Roofs to floors, to the imposing staircase, all the woodwork was restored.
Traces and bruises of the past have been erased ornaments, fabrics and furniture that adorn the house.

An interesting combination of confused grammar and beautiful metaphors.
posted by ianhattwick at 5:05 PM on January 18, 2011

I'm confused. Did he pay to have somebody clean it regularly and maintain the place or did they just lock the doors and shutter the place for 100 years then spend the last six years cleaning it up?
posted by TooFewShoes at 5:34 PM on January 18, 2011

How did they keep Hermann Göring from busting down the door and stealing all the art, I wonder? Lots of questions, here.
posted by eegphalanges at 1:58 AM on January 19, 2011

I'm with Melismata. In a metaphorical sort of way. To the best of our knowledge, we've never met. (Though we will always have Paris).

We apologize for any confusion.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:24 PM on January 19, 2011

The National Geographic has just published a gallery of photos from the mansion, which includes a picture of what may be the single greatest knick knack produced by mankind.
posted by Kattullus at 10:56 AM on February 11, 2011

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