History of the “Musée de l’hôtel Sandelin”
An elegant 18th century Parisian-style town house
In 1773, Pierre Sandelin, Count of Fruges, bought the old townhouse from the du Governor of Saint-Omer. As this old townhouse was rundown, it was decided to knock it down and build a new residence on the same site. But Pierre Sandelin died in 1776, and so it was his wife, Marie-Josèphe, who ensured the project was completed.
The elegant townhouse is based on the Parisian mode i.e. “between courtyard and garden”. The main building has two wings, home to stables and the kitchens, all of which is “U” shaped surrounding the main courtyard which gives onto the road. On the other side, the building gives onto a formal garden. Inspired by the Rococo style, the sculpted decor enlivens the facade with floral or animal patterns featuring complex outlines.
An eventful history
Marie-Josèphe Sandelin moved in her townhouse in 1777. But in 1794-1795, during the French Revolution, the property was seized and the furniture sold. The Sandelin family had to flee throughout Europe. Starting in 1795 and until 1803 the house was used as the town hall, and then between 1803 and 1808 it was home to the Sub-Prefecture. In February 1808 Marie-Josèphe Sandelin, who was born in Spain, lodged a claim to regain possession of her property and had it returned to her, as only the property of French nobles should have been seized during the Revolution. The countess was only able to benefit from her residence for a very short period of time as she almost certainly died in April 1808.
From the “Muséum” to the “Musée de l’hôtel Sandelin”
In 1829, the Natural History Section of the Saint-Omer Agricultural and Archaeological Society opened the first museum, called “Muséum”. The first collections mainly featured stuffed animals, fossils and ethnographic objects.
With the first excavations on the site of Saint-Bertin Abbey between 1830 and 1840, followed by the demolition of the Alderman Hall, several objects related to the town’s mediaeval past were added to the collections. Essential acquisitions were added to the museum’s masterpieces such as the Pied-de-Croix de Saint-Bertin or Cutting Out the Stone of Madness . But above all, the donation and then the legacy of the baroness of Teil Chaix d’Est-Ange at the beginning of the 20th century, enriched the museum’s collections with a host of paintings and pieces of furniture.
The digital era at the “Musée de l’hôtel Sandelin”
A tool designed to showcase heritage, the “Saint-Omer Heritage” portal is also a platform for digitised innovations. In order to enable cyber-visitors to gain an insight into the sheer wealth of the “Musée de l’hôtel Sandelin”, 12 works chosen as the most representative of the collection were digitally processed in 3D by the Artefacto agency.
Take the opportunity throughout your visit of the portal to discover these iconic works before coming to see them at the museum!
Open throughout the year, accessible to people with reduced mobility and featuring an educational centre, the “Musée de l’hôtel Sandelin” cultural programme caters for all audiences including temporary exhibitions, children’s workshops and thematic visits every Sunday at 3.30pm.
14 rue Carnot 62500 Saint-Omer
Ouvert le lundi et le mardi aux groupes, uniquement sur réservation. Fermé les jours fériés.