The Moussine museum is located on the Derb el Hammam between the Mouassine mosque and the Moussine fountain. The museum is signposted and the narrow derb runs alongside the wall of the mosque and just after the mosque’s massive side door you walk through a narrow archway leading to the Museum.
A reception desk at the entrance leads to a staircase to the douiria which was a guesthouse built during the late 16th and early 17th century during the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismail. Patrick Mana’ch the owner of the Musee de la Photographie acquired the Douiria and rennovated it between 2012-2014.
White plastered walls were painstakingly removed to reveal pink gypsum walls and pillars decorated in bright colours .The colours were restored to their original state using local skilled artisans and are now monitored by a sophisticated computer system which matches the colours to their original state.The pink gypsum was rennovated with stone from a quarry in Ourika. The wooden ceilings are perfectly restored and the guestroom facing the mosque has sun motifs on the wooden ceiling.
The douiria also features a set of original drawings by Delacroix.The restoration was assisted by Xavier Salmon chief curator of Le Louvre and is an outstanding example of traditional Moroccan courtly hospitality the coloured walls and arches represent a courtly garden.
The other part of the house containing the space for the hammam and stables for the guests has now been acquired by Patrick and his associates and has now become the Mouassine Museum.The passage from the Douiria now leads through to a long gallery where a unique collection of antique berber carpets lines the walls .The carpets are from a private Moroccan collection and another gallery downstairs is also devoted to carpets and covering s for horseriding accoutrements.
Patrick Mana’ch ,originally from Brittany is well known for his amazing cultural creativity. In 2009 he opened the Musee de la Photographie with features photographs of Morocco from 1870 to 1956 which he brought to Marrakech.These photographs from a collection of 5,000 glass plates provide a unique record of Morocco during this period which gives us a clearer insight into Morocco’s fascinating past.European photographic pioneers including Scotsmen came to Morocco originally to photograph people and places for postcards . They encouraged the beginings of tourism . The Musee de la Photographie can be reached by following the route past the Medersa Ben Youssef towards the Place du Mokef. The Museum is sign pointed and can be found on the left of the narrow street. On the way you will pass the Foundouk restaurant which is an excellent place for lunch or dinner with an art deco ground floor bar and restaurant and dinning also available upstairs and on the terrace . For those staying in Riad Star it is a stones throw from our front door!
Another inspirational project which was developed by Patrich Mana’ch and his team is the Ecomuseum in Ourika where an original berber household has been recreated just as it was with antique carpets a splendid collection of jewellery and pottery and a photograph gallery featuring berber tribal life.The Ecomuseum is in a little village just before the entrance to Ourika.