The history of the museum

The history of the museum

Picardy : a land of memories, a land of battles.

Picardy is a region which has been significantly marked by the two world wars. 

A strategic region, being the crossing point between northern Europe and Paris, Picardy was divided between the unoccupied zone and the occupied zone The presence of the invaders was deeply resented. Gradually, men and women began to react. The "shadow army" came into being. 

In the Aisne region there is a museum dedicated to the history of the Resistance and to those who were deported. The museum was inspired by members of the Resistance, one of whom was Etienne Dromas. It is located in the village of Tergniers- Fargniers. 


We invite you to come and visit this unique museum in Picardy, located on a site which is classified as a historic monument.

The history of the area…

The history of the area…


Following the First World War, 95% of the village of Fargniers was devastated.

In 1918, the mayor proposed a reconstruction project in the form of a concentric square, around which municipal buildings would be constructed. 

In 1922, the Trustees of the Carnegie Endowment Trust ( an institution founded in 1910 by the American industrialist, Andrew Carnegie), awarded a Grant of $500, 000 for the reconstruction of the devastated areas of France, Belgium and Serbia; it also made an award of $150, 000 for the reconstruction of the municipal buildings in Fargniers. 


A plan of the square was drawn by architects Henri-Paul Nénot and Paul Bigot (architect of the Grand Palais). 

Around the square are grouped

  • the town hall
  • a post office
  • a police station
  • a pump
  • a hall
  • an assembly hall
  • The Carnegie foyer
  • public baths
  • schools
  • green spaces and play areas
This area shows both regional and Anglo-Saxon influences.

The laying of the foundation stone took place in 1922 and the project was completed by 1928.

The following features can still be seen in the square :

  • The entire town hall
  • the entire old town hall
  • the facades and roofs of :
    • the old post office
    • the pump structure
    • the nursery school
    • the former girls' school and the former boys' school.
    • the former kindergarten teachers' building
    • former teachers' residence
    • the Carnegie Foyer , the old dispensary
    • the monument to Andrew Carnegie in the centre of the square

Etienne Dromas

Etienne Dromas

A name closely linked to the museum is that of 
Etienne Dromas, one of the first Resistants

"Forty years ago I made a vow to honour all my companions who died in clandestine battles, and to immortalise their actions. In 1964, following an exhibition in Chauny, on the Resistance, I noted the interest of the general public and in particular that of the children, in this period of the Second World War."
 
The idea was born. 
In 1986, on the advice and with the participation of 
Maurice Bruaux, Committee Chairman 
of the Departmental Tourist Board, 
the members of the Local Authority of Aisne 
decided unanimously to establish a museum 
to commemorate the suffering endured 
by the inhabitants of the Region, 
the suffering of those who were deported 
and of those who fought in the Resistance.

Letter from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Letter from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Letter from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 
to Etienne Dromas

Excerpts from the book by Etienne Dromas.

Excerpts from the book by Etienne Dromas.


Excerpts from the book by Etienne Dromas. 
Here there are pages recounting the details of the crash of a Stirling bomber 
on the night of April 16-17, 1943. 
Up to the beginning of September 1944, 
the lives of 87 allied airmen had been saved by the group 
of Resistants organised by Etienne Dromas.