Founded in 1968 as a cultural association (law of 1901), the Museum of Protestantism of Ferrières has welcomed visitors since August 2010 in a building located in Ferrières in the Tarn in front of the town hall.
This project was taken over by the community of the valley and plateau communes in the Lacaune Mountains. with the support of the Tarn Departmental Council, the Regional Council, the State and the Directorate of Museums of France.
The Museum is located in the heart of the Lacaune Mountains, not far from the towns of Castres and Mazamet (Tarn). It belongs to a network of Protestant museums located in the main regions marked by the Reformation: Poitou, Béarn, Languedoc, Vivarais, Dauphiné, Alsace….
It is devoted to the history of French Protestantism, captured in its regional roots, but it is addressed to visitors of all faiths (or without denominations). The history of the Protestant minority is an excellent gateway to understand the broad issues which are those of pluralism and religious peace at the nation level.
Hence the chronological and intellectual program of the Ferrières Museum: from the Reformation to secularism.
French secularism is neither an exception nor a model. It is the result of an already very long history, in which the Protestants played a role that was never insignificant.
A fact is noticed or observed. By itself it is neutral. But everyone is free to comment on it or interpret it according to their conscience. This principle applies to the religious fact which does not privilege any particular religion and contributes to the knowledge of our cultural and historical heritage.
Example: The massacre of St. Bartholomew in 1572 is a historical religious fact. Analyses and interpretations of its origin and its consequences are left to the free discretion of each
Secularism is based on the 1905 law, which lays down the principle of the neutrality of the State towards religions. The State does not favour any of them and it does not intervene in their organization.
.Article 1 of the law states: The Republic guarantees freedom of conscience. It means that everyone is free to practice a religion or not practice any religion.
Contrary to widely held ideas secularism does not mean the rejection of religions but the respect of believers and non-believers.