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AfricaMuseum Scholarships

      • AfricaMuseum 2021 Residence from African Creative (Belgium)

      • The residency will run under the theme Ecological Knowledge, and is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union as part of the Taking Care project(link is external). It targets creative people that are particularly aware of the human impact on the environment
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The origin of the AfricaMuseum dates back to the Brussels International Exposition of 1897. At King Leopold II’s behest, the ‘Colonial Section’ of the exhibition was moved to the Africa Palace (formerly known as the ‘Colonial Palace’) in Tervuren. The exhibition halls were home to naturalised animals, geological samples, commodities, Congolese ethnographic and artistic objects and art objects created in Belgium. An African village was recreated in the park and housed several Congolese during the day. Seven of these Congolese individuals died during their time in the village.

Leopold II saw the museum as a propaganda tool for his colonial project, aimed at attracting investors and winning over the Belgian population. It was in 1898 that the temporary exhibition became the first permanent museum of the Congo. The institute has always served the dual purpose of museum and scientific institute. 

Very early on, the Africa Palace turned out to be too small. Leopold II called on the services of Charles Girault, the architect of the Petit Palais in Paris, and embarked upon an ambitious construction programme. The plans were for a complete site with a new museum of the Congo, an international school, a congress centre, a station, Chinese pavilions and a sports centre. 
These construction projects were financed by the profits from the royal private domain of the Congo. As Leopold II had died before the works were completed, it was King Albert I who inaugurated the museum on 30 April 1910.

The name of the museum has changed several times in the course of its history. From Museum of the Congo, it became the Museum of the Belgian Congo when the Congo Free State became the Belgian Congo. In 1952, by Royal Decree, the museum became the Royal Museum of the Belgian Congo. It finally became the Royal Museum for Central Africa at the time of Congo’s independence. Since the renovation, the museum is more commonly known as AfricaMuseum.

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