|Location:||Ungersheim. North of Mulhouse. A36 exit Mulhouse, N430 north. A35 exit Enisheim, through Enisheim to N43, then south. Signposted. (47°51'08"N, 07°17'03"E)|
MAR to JUN daily 10-18.
JUL to AUG daily 9:30-19.
SEP daily 10-18.
OCT to DEC daily 10-17.
Clair de Mine: 
Full Day: Adults EUR 12, Children (6-18) EUR 6.50, Family (2+5) EUR 26.
Two Days: Adults EUR 18.50, Children (6-18) EUR 8.50, Family (2+5) EUR 37.
Groups (20+): JUL to AUG: Adults EUR 11, Children (6-18) EUR 5.
Rest of the year: Adults EUR 9, Children (6-18) EUR 5.
|Classification:||Salt Mine Potassium Mine|
|Guided tours:||L=500m. V=400,000/a.|
|Address:||Ecomusée d'Alsace, BP 71, F-68190 Ungersheim, Tel: +33-389-744474, Fax: +33-389-744465. E-mail:|
|Last update:||$Date: 2011/12/13 08:52:13 $|
|1984||museum opened to the public.|
|2001||historic standard-gauge tourist trains.|
|2007||sold and transformed into a theme park.|
The Écomusée d'Alsace is one of the largest open-air museums in Europe. Started by a handful of enthusiasts who wanted to save authentic Alsatian houses from destruction, it has become an ensemble of 70 houses, grouped in villages and quarters. There are all aspects of living represented in the museum, including free time and work. There is even a train station, relocated from Bollwiller.
The mine de potasse Rodolphe, an old potassium mine, definitely represents the work section. It is possible to make a tour through the underground part of the mine, where a 500m long tunnel has been opened to the public. During the operation of the mine Rodolphe, some 75 years, about 46 million tons of rocks have been extracted. On the surface there are the huge piles of schist, marl, and rock salt, which are a remains of the mining. Clair de Mine is a multimedia show, which explains the geology, history and technology of the potassium mining.
The Rodolphe mine is 1.2km from the center of the museum, and it can be reached on a train ride from the historic 1844 Bollwiller train station. The train rides were started in 2001, when only a single train daily was scheduled during August. The number of trains has increased since then, but still trains are only running during high season.
Unfortunately the Écomusée has developed very poorly in the last few years. Founded by Marc Grodwohl and built by enthusiasts, it finally had more than 150 full time employees who offered various things like baking bread, demonstrating crafts and so on. This was financed by entrance fees and regular communal subventions. Obviously the town also made financial gains from the enormous numbers of visitors. It seems the local politicians planned to earn big money by adding a sort of theme park called Bioscope nearby. When it flopped they needed a scapegoat, and freezing the subventions they almost ruined the Écomusée. After blaming the old management, they installed their own straw men in the museum management and as a result the Écomusée is today only a shadow of what it was a few years ago. We can not tell if it is still possible to visit the mine, as so many presentations have been cancelled. On their official website the mine is not mentioned any more.
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