Like the city of Paris and the Ministry of Public Works, the Ministry of the Interior wanted to have its own pavilion, and it has set up along the Avenue de la Mothe-Piquet, almost opposite the Ecole Militaire. We will talk about it in detail here, as its exhibition fits in with the ideas we are discussing at the moment.
You can see plans, maps, models (both small and large), reproductions of various processes, which will acquaint you with the main workings of the general and particular administrations, institutions of public utility: penitentiary and charitable establishments, prisons, agricultural colonies, insane asylums, etc., the complications of the vicinal system, the historical riches of the departmental archives, etc.
Among the maps, we note the new map of France drawn up by the vicinal service; the penitentiary map, indicating the central houses, houses of strength, correctional facilities, detention, arrest, justice, penitentiary colonies, the map of charity in France.
Of particular interest is the exhibition of the department of the insane.
Alongside relief models and plans giving all the details of the organisation of our main asylums, such as Charenton, Sainte-Anne, Ville-Evrard, Saint-Yon, Vaucluse, the work carried out by the residents of these homes was exhibited: embroidery, artificial flowers, sewing for the women; carpentry, locksmithing, etc., for the men.
There is something touching about this exhibition, when one considers that it was poor madmen who provided the elements.
The exhibition of the penitentiary colonies, those of Mettray and Corsica in particular, is no less instructive.
Next are the central prisons, Gaillon and Poissy, which exhibit a life-size model of a prisoner's cell, of the new type, complete with its meagre furniture.
Then come the charitable establishments: the asylum of Le Vésinet with its comfortable cell; the service of assisted children, the crèches, the maternal charity societies, the patronage of released convicts, the mutual aid societies, the rescue societies, etc., then the educational establishments for the Young Blind and the Deaf and Dumb, with the instruments of their education, the various procedures used to teach them to read, write, work, etc.
There are also plans of establishments and works of public utility carried out by various towns or communes; an exhibition of municipal regulations, of registers of deliberations of some general councils.
The exhibition of the departmental archives presents us with heliogravure reproductions of one hundred and seventy-two rare and curious manuscripts relating to the history of the French provinces from the 7th to the 18th century.
The oldest of these documents is an authentic copy of the relics of Saint Monulphe, found in the shrine that contained these relics, at Notre-Dame de Chartres.
Among the most curious are a letter from Salomon de Caus to the aldermen of Rouen, concerning the construction of a bridge (1618); the text of the capitulation of Luxeuil, signed by Turenne (1642), and finally a receipt from Molière, dated Pezenas (1656).
©Les Merveilles de l'Exposition de 1878