Louis Mantin, a French aesthete “obsessed with death and the passage of time,” wrote in his will that he wanted to turn his home into a museum after his death. He made a very specific and seemingly odd request, though: the museum would open 100 years after his passing.
After inheriting a large fortune from his father, Mantin, a bachelor with no children, started collecting objects obsessively – Egyptian relics, medieval locks and keys, monkey skulls, and stuffed blowfish. Having inherited the money later in life, Mantin knew that his time with his newly acquired collection would be short. The solution, he thought, was to turn his home into a museum, so people would know how an artistic gentleman had lived at the turn of the century.
Mantin died in 1905, and though he made it very clear in his will what he wanted the house to be in 100 years, he didn’t specify what he wanted to be done with the house in the time in between. The house eventually fell into disrepair, locked up and ignored, with worms and mold settling in among his statues and elaborate wallpaper. The house was finally re-opened as a museum in 2010, after a distant relative discovered his will and initiated an extensive renovation project. Townspeople and travelers can now marvel at this once hidden world, untouched for a century, admiring Mantin’s eclectic collections as well as his flushing toilet and heated floors, true luxuries for any home back in 1905.