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Cleanliness At All Times

RURAL HYGIENE

“Sauberkeit zu jederzeit”, or “Cleanliness At All Times”

The decorative towel that gives this exhibition its name is now more than one hundred years old, its slogan aimed at housewives in charge of household and family hygiene. The fact that they were to enjoy education to this end was an achievement of the 19th century.

Hygiene was a guiding concept of the industrial age, rapid urban growth and the economisation of agriculture. All were called to action: (male) heads of households, entrepreneurs, senior workers, employees and farmers. The political class and public administrations had to ensure that every citizen was provided with clean water, doctors, midwives and an education.

The plea reached every village, hamlet and even the remotest farms: “Cleanliness At All Times!”

This exhibition looks at the things which require cleanliness alongside the tools and equipment which served and continue to serve this purpose.

Some hygiene utensils are universal and remain practical to this day, such as brushes and brooms, soap and razors, while some objects are only found now in museums, such as carpet beaters and washboards.