No one is perfect, and that includes both you and me, so after dealing with some mentally ill people this week I think it is best to find a museum that is the opposite of crazy, let’s say even boring. And one of the most boring things I can think of is wallpaper. As he lay on his deathbed in Paris, Oscar Wilde supposedly said, “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either that wallpaper goes or I do.” or “This wallpaper is dreadful, one of us will have to go.” Well, he was right…he died. Anyway, France has a museum with the enticing slogan “Rixheim: Two Centuries of Wallpaper”. Who wouldn’t want to go this place? Maybe Oscar Wilde, but he’s dead.
The Musée du Papier Peint (Museum of Wallpaper) lives up to yawn-inducing billing. It has a collection of more than a 100,000 pieces of wallpaper, most which date back to the 19th century. Even though they do have panels of domino sheets from the 1700s, block-printed and stenciled. Apparently this is the earliest kind of wallpaper, produced in small batches to resemble marble and other patterns that usually represented God and the saints. Are you still with me?
Besides the not-to-be-missed opportunity of seeing how tastes in wallpaper have changed over the years, the museum also stores the machines that were used to print wallpaper. If you happen to be there during the summer, you might get to see them in action. EXCITING! The town of Rixheim (Alsace) has a long tradition of making this very boring decoration and the biggest surprise? The museum has been open for nearly 30 years. Also, there are several wallpaper museums in France. Now that’s CRAZY!