An exceptional collection of over
6500 objects exhibited in 6 rooms of the Hotel-Dieu.

Currently a collection of over 6 500 objects are exhibited in the Museum such as, medical and surgical instruments (some rare), and more than 2 000 medical books, (some exceptional).

The Museum is in that way, fulfilling its essential purpose, which is, first of all showcasing the Hotel-Dieu itself, as a classified Historical Monument (since1931). And also to be a “bearer of memory” in the history of medical sciences.

While through the ground floor, you get the oportunity to see an historic reconstitution and undestand the history of the Monument, on the top floor you’ll live a great immersion into the fascinating world of science and medicine, particularly in pharmacy, dentistry, medicine, and surgery.

The Room of the ETERNAL FATHER or hospital ward

This room represents a partial reconstruction of a typical 17th century patients’ ward. Characterized by high windows and a basket handle arched ceiling allowing air to circulate and elimination of “miasma”.

On the floor, an opening to a well fed by a source. It was possible to draw water for hydration and household use.
In between the beds are closets, one side for storage and an opening in the floor for the disposal of sanitary waste (toilets did not exist at the time).

At the far end of the room, a facsimile of a foundling wheel installed in the late 18th and early 19th century to receive abandoned children (1947 children were abandoned in fifty years). A registrar of the municipality was notified and recorded details of each child in a register including a piece of material from his/her clothing.

This register is still held at the Mairie.
In the central showcase can be seen useful medical instruments of the time.
The models on show are sisters of the Congregation of Nevers who arrived in Hautefort in 1747 and worked for the local population until the end of the 20th century.

The Room of the Divine Word or South Room

The room would have housed 11 boys. On show are a set of liturgical vestments from the 19th century, true masterpieces of workmanship.

It is possible to admire the claustras, a type of window allowing the sick to participate in the religious services: matins and vespers (morning and evening) and compline (prayers).

A pall, used in 1847, to cover the coffin of the last member of the HAUTEFORT family, (Sigismonde, Laure, Charlotte), is on show at the far end of the room – a remarkable piece of history and high quality.

The Chapel

It is in the heart of the building.

The floor is “pisés”. The floor of the altar is characterised by a rotunda with 12 branches symbolising the 12 apostles, the wool shears, “les forces”, in between each point are the emblem of the Hautefort family. On the ceiling you can admire a 19th century masterpiece by Italian itinerant painters. Finally on the right is a listed mausoleum, built at the end of the 19TH century, in which lies the remains of the last member of the HAUTEFORT family, (Sigismonde, Laure, Charlotte) and the heart of her husband Baron Maxence de DAMAS whom she married in 1818.


This space is dedicated to the pharmacy .

You can discover old drugs, rare books (complete VIDAL and a copy from 1928), a collection of 19th century “canards” (used to give drinks to the sick), some trebuchets and other unusual items.

PLATO’s Room

Four dental surgeries show the evolution of dentistry from the early 20th century to 1980 and a dental prosthetics workshop from the 19th century.


You’ll find two rare exhibitions: one tracing the development of radiology from the discovery of XRay by W. K. RÖNTGEN and the other “From conception to birth” showing the examination of the pregnant woman, pregnancy, childbirth and baby care. 

In particular are on show some rare skinned models by AUZOUX and a wax model of a woman in late pregnancy.


This exhibition room is dedicated to surgery and cardiology (including one of the first ECG devices by BOULITTE dating from 1930). Also on show is sterilizing equipment – for laundry (CHAMBERLAND machines) and instruments (Poupinels).

Finally, a representation of PASTEUR evokes the emergence of modern medicine in the 19th century, the era of great discoveries.

Take the original spiral stone staircase to the exit, and don’t forget to visit the medicinal herb garden containing forty different varieties.