‘The milkmaid and her pail… the milk, his derivatives and tableware’

2014, Exhibitions

Milk is part of our food since the earliest times. It is a natural source of well-being. Rich in nutritive elements, milk has a very long history. Nomadic communities, about 12,000 years ago, after a real agricultural revolution, become sedentary societies, learned to domesticate animals and discover products such as milk. The man becomes the only mammal to consume the milk of other species. The first dairy products like yogurt or cheese are appearing 4,000 years later.

The Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Germanic civilisations are the first to raise the ‘dairy cattle’ in an organised way: milking cows, sheep, goats, mares, donkeys, buffaloes and camels. In Europe, about the year 500, cows and sheep are prized for their milk. In the 14th century cow’s milk becomes more popular than sheep’s milk.

Some exhibits

Large-scale milk production dates back to the eighteenth century. The first methods of preservation, refrigeration appear in the nineteenth century. Louis Pasteur performs the first pasteurisation tests in 1862. This discovery helps to ensure the healthiness of the milk and allow its storage and its distribution off farm.
The term ‘milk’ refers only to cow’s milk, the milk of other mammals should be mentioned as goat milk, sheep milk…
Milk is an ingredient of choice which allows to make an infinite number of tasty dishes, such as creams, custards, puddings…
From 11 April to 11 November 2014, the exhibition ‘The Milkmaid and her pail…’ installed at the Musée des Arts of the Table in Arnay-le-Duc takes the audience into the world of milk and its derivatives, with the first vocation to show objects and pieces of table that make it attractive. A wealth of objects, from the farm to the table, to discover or rediscover: kettledrum milk, milk jugs, creamers, churns, butter moulds, butter dishes, cheese platters, porridge plates with milk and early childhood…