The museum buildings in the St.Alban-valley.

In the middle of the 12th Century the convent of the monastery of St.Alban constructed a canal to bring water to drive the water wheels of the - at one time - twelve mills in the St.Alban valley. During the late Middle Ages ten of these mills were converted into paper mills causing the area to become the most important producer of paper in Switzerland during the 16th and 17th century. Since 1980 the Stegreif-mill and the Galiciean-mill have housed the paper museum. Paper was produced in both of these buildings for 446 years, until 1924.

Along the banks of the St.Alban-Dych, as the canal was called, were situated many millsA print of the former water wheel at the mill called Zunziger-Mühle.The waterwheel at the Basel paper mill (renewed in 2007)

The Galician Mill

This building which today forms the main part of the museum was a corn mill until 1428, owned by the Klingental monastery. Initially it was converted into a hammer mill and then in 1453 Antonious Galician made it into a paper mill. The magnificent rooms on the first floor of the museum building attest to the prosperity of this family, but in 1521 due to political upheavals this came to an abrupt end. Further expansion of the mill was undertaken by the papermaking family Thuring (During).

The Gallician mill from the east, as seen from the town wall

In 1778, the bookseller and publisher, Johann Christof Im Hof-Burckhardt took over the mill. In 1788 he pulled down the manufacturing part of the building which faced towards the canal and replaced it with the present two storey-building. In 1850 the building was bought by the tobacco manufacturers, Hugo Brothers, and from 1857 onwards it was used as a warehouse until its restoration and the installation of the museum in 1980.

Paper mill building and water wheel (photo: Daniel Schvarcz)