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the africa museum

The Africa Museum in Tervuren, just outside of Brussels, houses a gigantic collection of ethnographic and zoological artifacts from Belgium's former colonies in Central Africa. It is also an offensive anachronism, chock-full of colonial loot, moldy Western superiority and faded textbook examples of 'africanism' - if that's the right term for the sub-Saharan variety of Edward Said's orientalism.

After offering a unique chance this summer to see the palace cellars, the museum is closing for renovation later this year, and scheduled to reopen in 2015 - hopefully with a bit more sense of 21st century political, cultural and ecological reality.

Its collection, which is undeniably impressive, could be put to good use illustrating the dark pages of Europe's colonial past, as well as the future challenges in wildlife and nature preservation. But it should take care to eradicate its condescending tone posing as science (along the lines of "Exhibit A: wildlife of the savanne, Exhibit B: the negro making fire") and be more honest about how all those stuffed animals and masks and spears got there.

So, with a disclaimer of questionable taste, here are some photos of the Africa Museum anno 2012.

Africa Museum - 1

Africa Museum - 2

Africa Museum - 3

Africa Museum - 4

Africa Museum - 5

Africa Museum - 6

Africa Museum - 7

Africa Museum - 8

Africa Museum - 9
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