An ecomuseum is a museum focused on the identity of a place, largely based on local participation and aiming to enhance the welfare and development of local communities. Ecomuseums originated in France, the concept being developed by Georges Henri Rivière and Hugues de Varine, who coined the term ‘ecomusée’ in 1971. The term "éco" is a shortened form for "écologie", but it refers especially to a new idea of holistic interpretation of cultural heritage, in opposition to the focus on specific items and objects, performed by traditional museums.
Alsace (French: Alsace [al.zas] ( listen); Alsatian: ’s Elsass [ˈɛlsɑs]; German: Elsass (help·info), pre-1996: Elsaß [ˈɛlzas]; Latin: Alsatia) is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area (8,280 km²), and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km² (total population in 2006: 1,815,488; 1 January 2008 estimate: 1,836,000). Historically and in identity one of the most vital parts of Lorraine (duchy), Alsace is located on France's eastern border and on the west bank of the upper Rhine adjacent to Germany and Switzerland. However, as far as the division of France into official politically administered "regions" goes, historical decisions, wars, and strategic politics, resulted in Alsace now being administered separately as its own "region" within the Republic of France. The political, economic and cultural capital as well as largest city of Alsace is Strasbourg. Because that city is the seat of dozens of international organizations and bodies, Alsace is politically one of the two important regions in the European Union.