The slate deposits near Rimogne in north-eastern France, near the border with Belgium, were recognised in 1158 when the Abbey of Signy gained rights to quarry there. The modern industry dates from the arrival in the village of Jean Baptist Collard in 1702. He began the open-cast working that became known as Collard’s great pit, and the Pâquis Canal, a large-scale draining channel. Another entrepreneur, Jean Louis Rousseau, went to Rimogne in 1779, re-established Collard’s great pit, and in 1831 his family set up the Compagnie Ardoisières de Rimogne et St Louis sur Meuse which prospered and employed some 600 men in 1914. It was severely affected by the First World War, and did not recover its prosperity until 1930.
The slate mine finally closed in 1997 and the present museum was opened in 2008 in the building from which the mines were managed, which also accommodated a power station. Visitors can see a model of the whole quarry operation, as well as the surviving generating equipment, and the wooden headstock on a shaft of the 1850s still stands. Many items of equipment remain in the workings but can be seen only by those fully equipped for explorations underground.
The Réseau Ardoise d’Ardenne organisation and the trail guide La Route d’Ardoise link Rimogne with slate-mining heritage sites at Bertrix and Alle-sur-Semois in Belgium and Haut-Martelange in Luxembourg.