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Leuvensesteenweg 13
3080 Tervuren - Belgium
Tel. (+32) 02 769 52 11
Fax (+32) 02 769 52 42


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Check out some of our magnificent collections!


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The collections of the Royal Museum for Central Africa contain nearly 500,000 butterflies and moths. All the specimens come from sub-Saharan Africa and neighbouring islands (primarily Madagascar and the Comores). They constitute a scientific collection first and foremost, with museum biologists and their colleagues from around the world studying the specimens and regularly discovering new species. The collection contains nearly 2,000 holotypes, or specimens that are used to describe a species for the first time.

An abundance of splendid butterflies and moths can be found in the collection. The photos here show a few of the most spectacular specimens.

They are taken from the book ‘Collections of the RMCA. Butterflies & Moths’ (U. Dall Asta et al. 2006. Butterflies & Moths, ‘Collections of the RMCA’ series. Tervuren: RMCA).
Order this book?

Photos : J.-M. Vandyck © MRAC




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With more than 8,500 pieces, the RMCA has the world’s largest collection of traditional musical instruments from Central Africa. Initially formed from the acquisitions of military officers and administrators during the colonial period, the collection was enlarged by donations from missionaries and private collectors, as well as purchases made on the African art market. These objects would have no reason for being without the music they produce, music that reveals as much valuable information on the instrument as the most copious field notes. The RMCA sound library has more than 37,000 sound recordings of Central African musical life, collected from  1912 up to the present day. In 1968, the ethnomusicology section was created at the museum, with research oriented on these two unique collections as well as in situ musical practice.

The sound recordings and musical instrument collection have been fully digitised thanks to the DEKKMMA and MIMO projects respectively.

Check also our book 'Collections of the RMCA: Musical Instruments' (J. Gansemans, 2009. Musical Instruments, ‘Collections of the RMCA’ series. Tervuren: RMCA).
Order this book?




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The mineral collection of the Royal Museum for Central Africa comprises some 17,000 specimens, mostly from Central Africa. It is primarily a research collection, with representative samples from nearly all known mining sites and deposits in the DR Congo and Rwanda. It also contains many unique and splendid samples.

Thanks to the research undertaken at the RMCA, the collection also includes a large number of type specimens, that is, the reference samples that allowed scientists to describe a mineral species for the first time.
The following photos depict a selection of specimens with particularly eye-catching shapes visible to the naked eye or through a microscope.

All specimens, except for one sample from Rwanda, are from the DR Congo. For some minerals, the type specimen is shown here.



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