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The Maison d'Ailleurs (translated as "House of Elsewhere") is a museum of science fiction, utopia and extraordinary journeys in Yverdon-les-Bains (Switzerland). It is a non-profit foundation functioning both as a public museum and a specialized research center.
The archives of the museum contain around 70,000 documents related to science fiction or utopia (books, art pieces, toys, etc.), including some very old (as early as the sixteenth century) or unique pieces. The collections of the museum are used for iconographic purposes or research (literature, history of ideas, design, etc.). The Maison d'Ailleurs thus represents an important research and documentation center.
In parallel, the museum presents from two to three temporary exhibitions per year, around the main themes of science fiction (cities of the future, space travel, lost worlds, etc.) and its artists: H. R. Giger, John Howe, James Gurney, Caza, Jean Fontaine, etc.. The exhibitions favour diversity and openness towards the world, in order to reach a broad audience. The museum also offers itinerary exhibitions and regularly presents its work in Switzerland and abroad. Half a dozen exhibitions are rented per year on average.
The Maison d'Ailleurs is the only public institution of its kind in the world. It has the status of a non-profit foundation, and therefore isn't directly a communal museum. The Foundation manages the collections owned by the city of Yverdon-les-Bains in the building it has been provided with. Five to seven members of the Foundation board are chosen by the municipality of Yverdon-les-Bains, while two others come from the association Amis de la Maison d'Ailleurs (Friends of the House of Elsewhere).
The Maison d'Ailleurs originates from the work of the French encyclopedian Pierre Versins, who dedicated his life to writing and the study of what he named "rational romanesque conjectures" ("conjectures romanesques rationnelles" in French). For more than twenty years, he gathered a very important collection of science fiction works. Based on this corpus, he wrote one of the major books in this domain, the Encyclopédie de l'utopie, des voyages extraordinaires et de la science-fiction. In 1976, he donated his assets to the city of Yverdon-les-Bains and the Maison d'Ailleurs was created. Pierre Versins acts as its curator until he moves back to France in 1981. Initially, the Maison d'Ailleurs only occupies a three-room flat, and doesn't have the ambition of a museum.
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