The project to build a new museum illustrates the determination of the departmental authorities to make this museum one of the Nord department's prime cultural amenities, on both a regional and international scale.
The departmental glass museum and studio contains one of the most significant collections in Europe. It offers insight into the industrial glass-making past of Sars-Poteries and the surrounding area in the 19th and early 20th century. And with 550 contemporary pieces signed by some of the greatest international artists, it also has a strong focus on contemporary studio glass. It is one of the largest and most interesting public collections of contemporary studio glass in France.
Presently housed in the Château Imbert, the former home of the owner of the Sars-Poteries glassworks, the museum is now faced with such issues as the limited access to the building and the limited space available for exhibiting its collections (only 15% of its collections are on show) and for organizing cultural activities. It is also a certain distance from the glass studio, which does not help in the promotion of this double structure.
The Nord Department therefore decided in 2009 to construct a new building on a par with the ambitions of the departmental glass museum and studio. The new building will:
- provide visitors with 1000 square meters of exhibition space (compared with the current 120 sq. meters), a sculpture garden and spaces dedicated to cultural activities (auditorium, educational workshops, etc.);
- bring the museum up to the standard befitting its needs and activities as an approved Musée de France;
- group together all the functions of a modern museum at a single site and thus strengthen the link between the museum and the studio, giving the public a better vision of the creative effervescence resulting from this synergy;
- act as a driving force in keeping with the ambitions of the Nord Department for the cultural development of the Sambre Avesnois and with its position as a museum of contemporary art.