Given that within the Emmaus America region there is no museum compiling the movement’s history, we have made use of a 110-year-old structure within the community that is part of the coffee-growing axis, designated by UNESCO to be cultural and architectural heritage of humanity, in which we have created this museum.
Promoting Abbé Pierre’s life, philosophy and works are incredibly important to us because we know that he is ranked on a global level along with Nelson Mandela of Africa, Martin Luther King of the USA, Saint Teresa of Calcutta, Gandhi of India and many more of the most famous figures in history who have fought things that create poverty, exclusion, inequality and other evils on our planet.
Here you can se the history of Emmaus from its creation in Europe to its beginnings in America and then in Colombia.
Here you can see images and the history of its beginnings, important figures in its development such as Lucie Coutaz, Georges Legay, and the presidents of Emmaus International to date.
We also have other permanent exhibitions such as those of items that we recycle and social problems that trouble our city, which make visits educational, helping to teach visitors about the importance of recycling and caring for our planet, and also about recycling rain water which is part of one of the museum’s exhibitions.
The museum was opened on 5 August 2015 to coincide with Abbé Pierre’s birthday, with the president of Emmaus America in attendance, in a gala ceremony that was also attended by other distinguished figures in the city.
It has been visited by school pupils, official employees, staff from national and multinational companies, members of other Emmaus America groups, as well as by members of Emmaus International and the current international president of Emmaus. To date, there have been 2,620 registered visitors.
Initially, to promote it, we sent out invitation cards, and needed to send several to each school or company. Currently we have visits planned up to March 2018. We currently have more supply than demand, which is why we can only host two weekly visits.
We are constantly creating other exhibits on the theme of the environment, and we are preparing one about Emmaus International’s three struggles that we want to become permanent.
Initially we only had a small number of objects that had been saved after being collected over time at meetings and assemblies, such as badges, coins, photographs and books, and then we asked the groups and Emmaus International for approval to use the photography archive.
The museum is managed by a companion, Gustavo Cano Arango, who is in charge of education, management and social work in the community. He had a group of people who work as guides for group visits, as well as a specialist team, a librarian, a restorer, a photographer and an expert in systems.
Companies that make donations, as well as schools and the public, have seen the importance of knowing about environmental management and Emmaus’ work all over the world, which is why they are our key users .
In 2012, Emmaus Pereira set up a series of visits for pupils from public schools as part of an environmental programme where they learnt to recycle, care for the environment and make best use of natural resources.
The visits were programmed through the school directors, and included the opportunity to visit to the whole of the site looking at sown fields, raising animals, recycling rain water, the shed where donated recycling is unloaded, the carpentry and restoration workshops, and how we select and send things to the salesroom.
Given the interest that was shown in knowing the history of our founder, and as we had nothing concrete to show them apart from a painting of his face, we saw that it was important to promote his life, works and philosophy, and thought that the best way to do this would be to create a place where we could compile his historic memory.
Promoting this global figure is very important in our group given how important he is and how proud we are to have him as our leader
Since our museum has been open, the locals know about his life, works and philosophy, and the visitors spread the knowledge they have acquired to their families and friends, multiplying the knowledge.
Through the assisted and guided visits to the museum, what we want to do is raise awareness in the hearts of our visitors so that they understand that there are more unfortunate people that need us, that they should stand in solidarity with their fellow man, that disused places could provide shelter for those who don’t have it, that we need to share, and that we need to use natural resources in a better way and care for the planet that gives us life.
1. To increase visitor numbers.
2. That the job of restoring the historical memory of Abbé Pierre’s philosophy, works and life is replicated and multiplied by each visitor to the museum.
3. That in 5 years the museum will be globally significant within the movement.
4. For 2018, to increase the number of exhibits (we currently have 150).
5. That the museum becomes known by all Emmaus International regions.
The museum is part of the city’s cultural offering, which is why its importance grows daily. It is a great thing for the movement, therefore, that the life, philosophy and works of Abbé Pierre are being spread among the people every day.
Through being a cultural and educational space, the exhibitions are linked to and about the three struggles set at the Emmaus International world assembly in Jesolo, Italy, in 2016.
1. It describes the social problems that trouble the city (Ethical and Solidarity Economy).
2. Recycling of objects and rainwater (Social and Environmental Justice).
3. Lectures about peace and displacement of people (Peace and Universal Citizenship).
Our key impact is the importance of the fact that the city takes us into account in their cultural sector and that visitor numbers increase on a daily basis, both among locals and members of Emmaus International.
Head teacher of the Marco Fidel Suarez public school: “When I received the invitation from the Emmaus Pereira Community Association for the pupils at the school that I direct to go on a visit, I didn’t pay it much attention, but given their insistence I decided to take a group. On arriving and seeing the museum’s importance, the topics that the organisation is working on and best practice in recycling, I planned to make a visit with each and every student group. We are currently working on caring for the environment with the help of Emmaus Pereira.”
Social Sciences teacher at Deogracias Cardona school: “Visits to the Abbé Pierre museum in the Emmaus Pereira living, working and service community have been very valuable for my social sciences class particularly in terms of history because as a recent figure my students think highly of him and are very interested in his struggles.”
9th grade pupil at Padre Cañarte school: “Both times that the school have taken us to Emmaus, my classmates and I have really enjoyed these visits because we learn about the struggles of people who have less than our parents and we see that we need to work more on solidarity and gender and race equality.”
9th grade pupil at Carlos Eduardo Vasco school: “Visits to the Emmaus museum are fascinating, firstly because we learn about the life and works of Abbé Pierre that we can replicate, and also because we learn to recycle and care for the environment, so that my children and grandchildren and my grandchildren’s children inherit a planet where they can have a good life.”
Stéphane Ladj, group leader in the community in Nice, France: "Lots of Emmaus groups across the world, notably in France, have noted that the public are not very well informed about our history, goals and methods to help everyone live a dignified life and find a place in societies where people are constantly excluded. With this in mind Emmaus Pereira created a very simple tool, which we could all copy, to describe and promote who we are and where we come from."
We have seen that there is a need to create an open-air route (“HEALTH AND LIFE ROUTE”). This will start with a display of medicinal herbs that have been used by humans over time, then go via fruit trees and also the building of structures over time, ending with a scale model of the concrete jungle that our current cities have become. This is to add to the permanent exhibits, and through this we hope to increase the flow of visitors.