Royal Museum for Central Africa

Royal Museum For Central Africa


Royal Museum for Central Africa

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The Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) is an ethnographical and natural history museum in Tervuren, just outside Brussels, Belgium. It was first built to show off King Leopold II's Congo Free State for the 1897 World Exhibition. It focuses mainly on Congo, Belgium's former colony. The sphere of influence however (especially regarding to biological research) extends to the whole Congo River basin, Middle Africa, East Africa and West Africa, but tries to integrate Africa as a whole. First purely intended as a colonial museum, after 1960 it became more focused on ethnography and anthropology. Like in most museums, there is a research department and a public exhibit department. Not all research is pertaining to Africa, for example the research on the archaeozoology of Sagalassos. Some researchers have strong ties with the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.


After the Congo Free State was recognized by the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, King LĂ©opold II decided he had to show the potential of the country in an exhibition. Economic investors had to be attracted and the public had to know this faraway country better. After considering other places, the king decided to have the exhibition in his royal estate at Tervuren. When the 1897 International Exposition was held in Brussels, a colonial section was built in Tervuren with two new transport connections to Brussels city centre, the Avenue de Tervuren and the tramway line. The 44 tram line...
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