information for visitors · PDF file information for visitors MAV is a mountain museum...

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  • information for visitors MAV is a mountain museum organized with a few vitrines and a great simplicity that allow the visitors to walk fully free around the spaces to watch the products. The museum gives a lot of importance to the artefacts and work chain that led to their creation from the raw materials. Every object you see in the cases is a unique piece. Some of them are very old and fragile and come from the following collections: IVAT - Valdostan Institute of Traditional Handicraft, RAVA Collection (Autonomous Region of Aosta Valley) - Department of Education and Culture and Department responsible of Cultural Heritage and Activities, Turin Palazzo Madama - Public Museum of Ancient Art and Foundation Palazzo Madama Turin Museums, Private collectors. This exhibition does not pretend to be exhaustive. The traditional valdostan handicraft world is vast and diversified; MAV becomes a source of inspiration as for the richness of matters and shapes. Museum is divided into large areas dedicated to materials, indoors, outdoor, social, poetry and temporary exhibitions (for a limited time). These areas are by turns divided into different exhibition showcases. The name of each case is connected to house, courtyard and village considered as space for collecting and using objects. To better understand the significance of the objects, visitors can read visit sheets in different languages (IT- FR-EN) written with the EasyReading ® font that is highly comprehensible for dyslexic people and very efficient for any kind of public.

    Card prepared with a simplified language

  • The informational material is divided into three types: • Room card: they are written with a simplified language developed by Institute of the Deaf in Turin. They consist of an introductory section that summarizes the contents of the showcase and present a picture of the objects. Every product owns a description that reports the most important information and dimensions. Measures are determined in centimeters; • Technical sheets: they are dedicated to crafts techniques, specific objects and use of tools; • Outfitting texts: they are placed in the areas and individual showcases of the Museum. They consist of recreating the context life of the specific areas and describe habits and pieces. • Images: projected in height are a kind of background animated with people, objects and activities and allow to drum up a great interest. Introduction videos are a «zoom» on the objects and different types of processing connected to the visit areas. Do not touch the objects. No photographs please.

    We hope you enjoy your visit!

  • MAV Symbol Little man with three legs is MAV symbol. He represents a shepherd, lo berdjì, with his walking stick while bringing animals to pasture. This symbol proves this craftsmanship is still alive. This object describes with simple and essential lines the true substance of the craft that joins utility and aesthetic beauty.

    • Lo berdjì is symbol and guardian of MAV: outside the building you can see the big Dorino Ouvrier’s sculpture, craftsman of Cogne, who gave his work at the Museum. The wood used to create this work comes from an elm of Saint-Marcel that the «Regional Forest Service» chose, cut and transported to Cogne to be carved.

    • The little man with three legs exhibited in the museum is a piece of Brocherel’s Collection (Palazzo Madama Turin); it is an object dated from the beginning of the nineteenth century.

    The little man is a table lamp holder: we hung the oil lamp on the right arm (in the special groove).

    Lamp holder Unknown XIXth century - Valtournenche Wood 31 height; 36 width; 11 depth Brocherel’s Collection Palazzo Madama Torino

    Card prepared with a simplified language

  • stone Soapstone In the showcase there are samples (fragments and semi-finished products) of soapstone. They are formed by chloritoschists (rocks composed of chlorite and various minerals) that change colour (from light green to dark green), grain (from fine to coarse) and schistosity (stone is divided into thin layers).

    Millstone It is a stone used for constructing grinders. It contains very hard minerals useful to grind the grains (wheat, rye, barley). In Valmérianaz we built millstones directly into the quarry, that we loaded then on sleighs and carried in the valley to store and prepare them for sale. The road connecting Alpe Valmérianaz (Pontey) and Bellecombe (Châtillon) is named the “sun road” because we can find there some remains of ancient millstones carved into the rock in the shape of the sun.

    It is possible to touch and get a sniff to the objects on display. It is important to know the raw material of every product. In the showcases we can see the first stages of the “work chain” (from the raw material to the semi-processed and processed matter).


    Card prepared with a simplified language

  • 10. Semi-processed sample Petit-Rosier (Champorcher) Soapstone

    11. Semi-processed sample Laveussé (Valtournenche) Soapstone

    2. Fragment Valmérianaz (Pontey) Soapstone with garnet particles

    5. Fragment Valmérianaz (Pontey) Soapstone with small magnetite particles

    8. Semi-processed sample Laveussé (Valtournenche) Soapstone

    4. Fragment Orsio (Gressoney-la-Trinité) Soapstone

    9. Semi-processed sample Petit-Rosier (Champorcher) Soapstone

    1. Fragment Gressan Soapstone

    7. Semi-processed sample Gressan Soapstone

    3. Fragment Valle d’Aosta Soapstone with small magnetite particles

    6. Semi-processed sample Valmérianaz (Pontey) Soapstone with garnet and chlorite particles

    12. Semi-processed sample Laveussé (Valtournenche) Soapstone

  • 13. Semi-processed sample Petit-Rosier (Champorcher) Soapstone

    14. Fragment Valmérianaz (Pontey) Millstone

  • soapstone

    Soapstone is a generally green rock with important chemical and physical characteristics: unalterable to atmospheric factors and foods, high refractoriness capacity and thermal resistance to temperature leaps (slow build up and slow return of the heat), very low porosity and hardness, useful for easy manufacturing (manual or lathe) with metal tools. Name of Ollare derives from the Latin olla or pot. The stone has been used since prehistoric times to make receptacles for fire or containers for food, everyday objects such as inkpots, small boxes, spindle whorls, loom weights, lamps, bracelets, nativity scene figurines, stoves, moulds for weapons, urns, water bowls, statues and architectural elements.


  • Term "soapstone" has not a specific petrographic connotation, but only a commercial meaning; in the Alps we identified indeed soapstone with very different mineral composition, colour and grain. In Aosta Valley soapstone has rather a homogeneous composition with a colours range that varies in every green shades, and consists mainly of two varieties of chlorite schists: the first one with fine- grained chlorite inclusions and small granules mainly represented by magnetite and garnet; the second one with more coarse-grained chlorite matched with granules of large size like chlorite, garnet and amphibole. In our region, soapstone mining had a particular importance in the past and affected both rocky outcrops with true quarries and specific boulders belonging to accumulate debris or moraine. We observe traces of these activities sometimes at very high altitudes (2,000m/2,600meters), particularly in the valleys of Ayas, Valtournenche, Gressoney and municipalities of Fénis, Pontey, Champdepraz and Champorcher. Nowadays no active quarries of soapstone exist in Aosta Valley. The numerous artisans collect it occasionally and in a non-professional way to work, engrave or turn it. Paolo Castello, a geologist from Aosta and Roberto Zavattaro, a craftsman from Fénis, carried out the showcase and scientific texts.

  • legno In Aosta Valley there are many types of woods. Artisans are very acquainted with the characteristics of each one and know how to choose the best one to achieve the various objects. This case contains all kinds of woods (walnut, maple, arolla pine, birch…) used to produce the artefacts displayed in the museum.

    It is possible to touch and get a sniff to the objects on display. It is important to know the raw material of every product. In the cases we can see the first stages of the “work chain” (from the raw material to the semi-processed and processed matter).


    Card prepared with a simplified language

  • 10. Ashwood Leafed

    11. Juniper wood Conifer

    2. Fir tree wood Resinous

    5. Walnut wood Leafed

    8. Birch wood Leafed

    4. Poplar wood Leafed

    9. Boxwood Leafed

    1. Larchwood Resinous

    7. Maple wood Leafed

    3. Arolla pinewood Resinous

    6. Cherry wood Leafed

    12. Hazel wood Leafed

  • 13. Sample processing Interlocking with mortise and tenon technique Arolla pinewood

    14. Sample processing Interlocking with dovetail technique Arolla pinewood

    15. Two samples processing Internal and external turning Apple wood

  • wood production Forest Once the relationship between man and wood was based on respect. Men considered forest as a key element of the landscape and subjected it to periodic maintenance. Forest was an important resource to protect the village and a source of valuable material not to waste: wood. It was unthinkable for inst