Tervuren Museum: BRUSSELS

I thought deeply about visiting this museum prior to booking my travel arrangements. The museum was part of an elaborate complex planned by King Leopold II to display his work in the Congo and highlight his philanthropic work.  This was funded by Leopold's extraction of wealth from the Congo through dubious means, as you will hear in episode 14.  On balance however I decided that it was a worthwhile visit, if only to see the Belgian view of the Congo and it's colonial past.  

I would say that this is the correct choice as the Museum neutrally displays many exhibits from the Congo and surround territories.  It studiously does not mention Leopoldian times and works closely with Central Africa as a modern research establishment.  

The collection, as you would expect, is extensive.  There are sculptures and engravings from many of the Congo tribes, particularly the Luba and the Kuba.  There are also extremely rare artefacts from the Kingdom of the Kongo, showing the crosses used in churches (as exhibited below).  

The Museum also houses the Stanley Archives, donated to the Museum by his family in the 1950s.  This houses all of Stanley's notebooks and diaries from his travels in America, Asia and of course Africa.  It is holds some of the artefacts from his African travels such as rifles and local weaponry.  

Kongo Cross 2.jpg