ReThinking Collections

How do we trace the origin of collections? What new insights can be gleaned from these provenances? And what should become of such collections, within and beyond museum walls? 

Standing guide 20.01.2024 Guided tour

On 19 January 2024, ReThinking Collections, a new temporary exhibition on provenance research, will open its doors at the AfricaMuseum.

Most of the collections in the Royal Museum for Central Africa were acquired during the colonial era, in what is now the DR Congo. Provenance research and the related topic of restitution are attracting more attention in current social and political debate. But how do we trace the origin of collections? What new insights can be gleaned from these provenances? And what should become of such collections, within and beyond museum walls? 

The exhibition attempts to shed light on the many approaches to provenance research and the current issues surrounding it. It presents varied and occasionally surprising pieces, and addresses questions related to this contested heritage. The exhibition also explores new perspectives and future approaches to colonial collections.

ReThinking Collections is inspired by the book (RE)MAKING COLLECTIONS. Origins, Trajectories & Reconnections / LA FABRIQUE DES COLLECTIONS: Origines, trajectoires & reconnexions, edited by Sarah Van Beurden, Didier Gondola & Agnès Lacaille, in the series ‘Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities’, vol. 181. Tervuren: RMCA, 2023.