The royal Museum of central Africa is located in Tervuren, Belgium, in some kilometres in Brussels.
Created in 1897 at the instigation of the king Leopold II he is intimately linked to the history of the colonisation of Congo by Belgium. The museum of Congo, colonial palace in layout art nouveau constructed in the middle of a sumptuous park linked up in Brussels by a double avenue especially creates, was at origin intended to awaken interest and curiosity of the Belgian people for what was in epoch'« independent State of Congo» (on 1884 in 1908).
After 1908, it became the Museum of Belgian Congo then the royal Museum of central Africa in 1960.
History of the museum
To give a window to his Congo and an idea of the economic potential of this region to the Belgians and so to attract investments, Leopold II wanted to do up a kind of museum by staging the original objects, imported in quantity according to a multiple-subject approach: anthropological, ethnological, botanical, zoological, entomological, geological and mineralogical.
Advertising poster for the museum (1910) On the occasion of the World fair of 1897, he made construct in the royal domain of Tervuren the "Palace of colonies" conceived by the Belgian architect Georges Hobé in style art nouveau of epoch. The temporary exhibition which was done up made the nice part next to "curiosity" of Congo, animals seated with straw and objects of ethnographic interest, in the products of export there: the coffee, the cocoa, the tobacco and forested petrol. In the park among other "attractions" several dozens Congoleses lodged in reconstructed Africain villages were given in looks of the visitors. Seven of them died from diseases or from cold there.
The success of exhibition (more than a million visitors in six months) and the interest of the scientists was such as it was decided to make it permanent. Very fast, places became too cramped, the king fondled plan to make the domain his "small Versailles", the building of the current building, of neoclassical style, entrusted to the French architect Charles Girault started in 1905 to be inaugurated in 1910 on the occasion of a second world fair. Congo has had then for two years stopped being a royal possession to become Belgian colony.
Until 1960, year the independence of Congo, collections did not cease expanding by the dispatches of objects and of samples of every sort and kind performed by servicemen, missionaries, colonial administrators, dealers and scientists.
Later acquisitions were enlarged in the whole Africa.
The Museum shelters unique collections in the world a weak proportion of which it is possible to display only. He also has invaluable historical archives among which those, complete of Henry Morton Stanley, a photographic collection, a filmothèque, ethnomusicologiques sound archives as well as broad fan of cards and geological and scientific data.
african art / Africain art / primitive art / primitive art / first arts / gallery art / tribal / tribal art art / eye and the hand / gallery of first art / Agalom / Armand Auxiètre / www.african-paris.com / www.agalom.com