The museum’s collections derive from UCLouvain’s academics and private donors. They include works of art, natural history specimens, archaeological and ethnographic objects, machinery and science-based inventions.
The visitors’ route through the museum is designed as an exploration of what drives people to invent. Visitors discover the collections in 5 sections through 5 themes in 5 different moods :
- Surprise : The visit begins with a profusion of objects taken from all the collections, in no apparent order: an enormous curio cabinet revealing the incredible diversity of the world.
- Questioning : As well as experiencing surprise, the aim is to understand the world. The second section presents the passion of researchers through UCLouvain’s history (using films, archives and scientific instruments).
- Transmitting : Calculating machines (never previously on display!), precious manuscripts, archaeological objects... the third section shows the tools that have helped spread knowledge, with the theme ‘writing and calculating’.
- Emotions : The fourth and largest space is dedicated to the encounter with art. The works and objects presented under the theme ‘traces and creative work’ span all cultures and eras, from antiquity to the twentieth century.
- Contemplation : The route ends with an amateur’s viewpoint – that of Dr Charles Delsemme, whose collection inspires contemplation.