The museum building
The museum has been in an old factory building since 1988. In fact, the museum is made up of a few buildings, located between Druivenstraat and Mermansstraat:
- Factory building, 1926, consisting of a reinforced concrete frame filled with brick, 15 m high. It is a striking, outstanding block front to the playing cards museum, a piece of commercial and industrial architecture and, as such, one of the first constructions of this type in Turnhout. The company Mesmaekers built this wing as an annex to house its expanding business activities as a printer and playing cards manufacturer. The building was later used to produce coloured and illustrated paper. Known locally as the 'new Mesmaekers factory'.
- Frontal extension, built as office space in 1955 by the firm Keuppens-Leysen. This textile producer had since become the owner of the 'new Mesmaekers factory'.
- The 'Steam house', an annex to the factory wing, structure 1998-2003, designed to house the museum's historical steam engine.
- The premises on Mermansstraat, built in 1911-1913 in the neo-Renaissance style and commissioned by the Geschied- en Oudheidkundige Kring Taxandria (Taxandria Historical and Archaeological Circle). Design: architect Jules Taeymans. The premises remained the home of the Taxandria Museum until 1993.
The factory building was thoroughly decorated and refurbished as a museum between 1999 and 2003 under the guidance of architect Vittorio Simoni (Hasselt). The sleek, distinctive building was to bring a new dynamic to what was once a working neighbourhood. At some point in the future there will be a museum square at the heart of this old, industrial part of town.