The Cinquantenaire Museum, situated in the Brussels Cinquantenaire Park, is the main museum of the Royal Museums of Art and History. The building was constructed in the late 19th century on demand of King Leopold II. Visitors of the museum can learn about art and history of mankind from prehistoric times till today. The collections preserved in de museum cover all artistic disciplines with the exception of painting and all five continents with exception of sub-Saharan Africa. The objects can be divided over four groups: Antiquity, national archaeology, non-European civilizations and European applied art (famous tapestries, lace, ceramics, art nouveau creationshellip;). 350.000 objects are on show or in the storage rooms spread over 80.000 msup2;. Each year temporary exhibitions are organized in order to show more about certain civilizations, periods or subjects.
Since many years the Cinquantenaire Museum offers the public a vast selection of activities. Next to the traditional guided tours, lectures and workshops new programs are proposed to the visitor to get to know the works of art in a different way. Art should not just provide knowledge, but can offer so much more, it can touch the visitor, awaken its imagination or just let him enjoy its hidden beauty. It was a challenge for the Educational and Cultural Services as well as for the External Communication Service to propose visitors a platform for the expression of their points of view and emotions. This way they can also fascinate other visitors for the wonderful heritage conserved by the museum.
A question that has to be asked again and again is how to guide schoolchildren through a museum collection in a passionate and contemporary way. Involvement of the pupils, individual or in group is encouraged by tasks that have not only a teaching or learning function, but that try to reach other competences and critical sense and that stimulate the imagination.
Not only museum collaborators have a valuable look upon art. On a few occasions art students in different disciplines have been invited to confront their creations with the museum collections or to find inspiration in creations of the past. These challenges resulted in small exhibitions.
Since June 2006 the dynamic slogan "Enlarge your vision upon man and culture" welcomes the visitor of the website of the Royal Museums of Art and History. A new lay-out and a clear structure with modern colours and attractive illustrations provide all the needed information on collections, activities and exhibitions. The same slogan appears on promotional posters with a humoristic touch that show museum characters ingeniously composed out of different periods/departments.
The museums were very happy to receive for their efforts to attract a new public the Belgium Museum Award 2007. The price will be used to add an English level on the museum website and to organize more poster campaigns to reach as much people as possible.
Text based on documents prepared by the staffs of Bart Suys, head External Communication and of Anna Van Waeg, head Educational and Cultural Service
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