Échirolles is one of the largest suburbs of the city of Grenoble, where in the mid-twentieth century more than 2,000 people were engaged in the manufacture of viscose (otherwise rayon, or artificial silk). Processes for making artificial silk were developed both in France and the United Kingdom in the late nineteenth century, and the first factory in France began production at Besançon in 1892.
The factory at Échirolles was opened in 1927. The museum describes its history up to its closure in 1989, showing both the technologies employed, illustrated by machines once used in the factory, and the ways of life of the workpeople, both in the factory and in their leisure time. Some aspects of the story are illustrated in a cinema.