The professional side of Chaplin is remembered at the Manoir de Ban Studio, through screenings of his work, and original objects, like his iconic walking stick and hat, and an Oscar he was awarded. Scenes from his most famous films have been recreated: from The Gold Rush to Modern Times and The Great Dictator.
Making Manoir de Ban into a museum to pay homage to one of the best-known figures from the history of film, and tell people about his achievements, has not been not an easy task. In the year 2000, architect Philippe Meylan and museographer Yves Durand launched the idea, and obtained the support of the Chaplin family. “He wanted people to remember him. That was why he was such a perfectionist when making his films,” admits Eugene Chaplin, one of the eight children of the film-maker and his wife Oona O’Neill. Even though the real reason for the project was not the historic reconstruction of just another house, Grévin, the owner of several wax museums worldwide, was also brought in.
After a seven-year wait to obtain the building permit, it took two years to restore the mansion, originally constructed in 1840, and to build an extension and convert the farm and garage into an area for offices, ticket sales, a shop and a restaurant. What’s more, a complaint from a neighbour, not wishing to see their tranquillity disturbed by thousands of visitors, delayed the project for five years, until it was finally opened in 2016.