The Textile and Horn Comb Museum

This museum brings together the entire industrial tradition of the Pays d'Olmes.
Textiles were once the most important activity in this small area, and even though globalization has come and gone, there's still a great deal of know-how.
And hornworking was, and still is, one of the region's industrial jewels.

The museum is housed in a former cloth factory.
It retraces the industrial epic through archival documents and a rich collection of machines from all eras.
In the heart of the Cathar Pyrenees, the Pays d'Olmes boasts a rich tradition of craftsmanship and industry, with the working of jet, horn and, above all, carded wool textiles.
These activities continue to make the region famous.


A little history...

The Museum was founded in 1983 by the Association des Amis du Musée du Textile et du Peigne en Corne, a group of former enthusiasts and educators, and opened to the public in 1985.
The museum was supported by Lavelanet town council until 1992, when the Conseil Général de l'Ariège took over. The building was renovated. A curator was appointed. An inventory of the collections was drawn up.
In 2002, the museum became a "Musée de France".
In 2006, the Conseil Général de l'Ariège entrusted its management to the Communauté de Communes Pays d'Olmes.
In 2010, the Communauté d'Olmes invested in bringing the museum up to fire safety standards, providing access for people with reduced mobility, and refurbishing the reception, ticket office and store areas.


The Museum today
The museum occupies the buildings of one of Lavelanet's first textile factories, dating from the 1800s: the Dumons factory, with a total surface area of 3,500 m2.
Permanent exhibitions occupy 1200 m2. These display areas are subject to change as the museography evolves. The remaining floor space is taken up by the museum's reserves, where the collections are stored.
Nearly 1,200 items have been collected by members of the Friends of the Museum Association.
500 of these have been inventoried and are part of the national heritage. They mainly concern technical heritage and very few textiles. They cover periods from the 17th to the end of the 20th century.
This is a very complete technical collection covering the early 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries, and the period after 1950.

In this museum, weavers and combers reveal their secrets.

Discover a fascinating world through numerous workshops, demonstration areas and guided tours.

The tour is made up of distinctly different areas, enabling you to understand all the stages and processes involved in the manufacture of cloth, as you travel through the heart of the material and the ages, from the Middle Ages to the 21st century, in the preserved atmosphere of one of Lavelanet's first cloth factories, which today houses the museum.

During your visit, you'll discover in turn:

- The manual tools used to card and spin wool, and the secrets of natural and chemical fibers.

- The carding machines of an 18th-century mechanical spinning mill.

- The magic of dye plants and the alchemy of natural colors;

- Warping and weaving techniques on medieval wooden hand looms, jacquard looms and mechanical shuttle looms;

The garden, with its plants used as textile fibers or for their dyeing properties, organized in the manner of a medieval garden around a kokuso mulberry tree, a beautiful indigo tree and carder thistles... ;

And last but not least, machines, objects, photos and archival documents to illustrate the importance of this activity and the unalterable qualities of this noble product still produced in the area today: the horn comb.


Textile and Horn Comb Museum
6, Rue Jean Canal,
09300 Lavelanet
Tel.: 05 61 03 89 19


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