History and Patrimony of the Museum and the Institute of Zoology

The university collections represent exceptional patrimonies, which have a great scientific, historic or artistic value, and represent the history of natural sciences. They are « Treasures of the zoological Patrimony » and are now exposed in a complete new room, which has been inaugurated in June 2017.

History of Collections


This new permanent part of the Museum, tells us more about the history of the scientific collections of the University from the year 1817 until the topic of „What holds the future?“. Important persons of the institution as Édouard Van Beneden or Marcel Dubuisson are presented. The art of taxidermy is getting explained and ancient and new techniques are compared. The visitors can observe two art pieces, which border the room. The lead glass window of Lismonde and the painting «La Genèse» from Paul Delvaux.

Role of an university Museum


An university Museum has the mission to make its collections accessible to the public and to emphasize them. The play an important role in public education such as school and family education including current topics like climate warming and the loss of biodiversity. A museum is a site of conservation for type specimens or past or present extincted animal species. They offer researchers the opportunity to study them or to execute genetic analyses.

Extinct animal species


Within a couple of hundred years and until know, about 800 animal species have extincted. In the room named «TréZOOr», you will learn more about the extinction of the dodo, the huia, the wild pigeon or the Tasmanian devil and more animal species. Taxidermied animals, sculptures and casts give you an idea of their appearance. Information boards and screens describe their history and their extinction.

Didactic models


In 1886, Édouard Van Beneden, founder of the Institute of Zoology, orders 77 Blaschka models in order to illustrate zoology lessons. Some years later he orders wax models to illustrate the development of an embryo and parasite. At first didactical objects, the Blaschka and the wax models became proper artwork, which combined artistic sensibility and scientific precision. An irreplaceable patrimony!

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