Category Archives: Pirogue

Volunteer work @ the AfricaMuseum

Last Saturday the museum organized its very first info session for future volunteers.
AfricaMuseum is known as one of the world’s most beautiful and impressive museums devoted to Africa, so you can imagine their keen interest in being an active part of it! About 20 enthusiastic future volunteers enjoyed an informative afternoon that included a special visit to the construction site.

The museum is developing volunteer work opportunities so that members of the public can play an active part in the project. A whole range of possibilities will be available.
Even before the museum reopens, some volunteers can already lend a hand during specific activities, such as the return of the museum’s masterpieces or preparations of reopening festivities.
They can also help set up the exhibitions and the welcome pavilion by installing or moving museum pieces and fittings. And just by being ambassadors for the museum, our volunteers will already be making a great contribution to our efforts to develop these opportunities.
AfricaTube is also based on volunteer work. It has already been mentioned in previous blog posts. It is a specific project inviting young volunteers aged 16 to 26 to be part of this interactive and digital platform that selects videos from the internet to show a more contemporary Africa, and show its innovative, creative, and dynamic face.

Stay tuned!

De prauw is terug thuis! – La pirogue est de retour!


Op woensdag 3 februari 2016 keerde onze prauw terug naar het museum nadat hij bijna 2 jaar als ‘pop-up’ had vertoefd tussen de vliegtuigen van het Legermuseum te Brussel.

Het werd millimeterwerk om ons grootste collectiestuk op zijn nieuwe plaats te krijgen in de onderaardse gang tussen het nieuwe glazen onthaalpaviljoen en het museumgebouw.
Maar de gespecialiseerde transportfirma MOBULL en een team enthousiaste medewerkers van in en buiten het museum klaarden de klus in geen tijd. De pers stond erbij en keek ernaar…
Bekijk de fotoreportage vanaf het vertrek uit het Legermuseum tot de aankomst in de onderaardse gang.


Mercredi 3 février 2016, la pirogue retournait au musée après avoir passé près de deux ans comme ‘pop-up’ parmi les avions du Musée de l’Armée à Bruxelles.

Il a fallu un travail millimétré pour acheminer notre plus grande pièce vers sa nouvelle place, dans la galerie souterraine reliant le nouveau pavillon d’accueil au bâtiment du musée.

Mais la firme de transport spécialisée MOBULL et une équipe de collaborateurs enthousiastes du musée et d’ailleurs ont mené à bien l’opération en un rien de temps. La presse a suivi l’événement de près.

Regardez le reportage photo, du départ de la pirogue du Musée de l’Armée jusqu’à son arrivée dans la galerie souterraine.

The story behind the pirogue of the RMCA…

The 22.5 m long pirogue weighing 3,500 kg is one of the treasures of the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA). It was used by King Leopold III during his trip in the Congo in 1957  and was especially made for the expedition on the Ruiki river. The pirogue reached the museum on January 3, 1958 with the help of the Belgian army.

Jacques Deschepper, an intelligence officer for the provinces of Kivu and Maniema in 1957, was chosen to accompany King Leopold III of Belgium and Princess Lilian on their seven-week trip in Congo.
Special thanks go to Jacques Deschepper who, an amateur video maker himself, recorded these images.

Due to the renovation of the RMCA the pirogue had to be moved. Since 17 February 2014 and until the RMCA reopens in 2017, the pirogue can be admired among the aircrafts at the Royal Museum of Armed Forces in Brussels.

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And the pirogue has left the building…

On Monday 17 February 2014, the last collection piece left the museum to make way for renovations. And it wasn’t just any piece, but the 3.5 metric ton, 22-metre-long pirogue carved from Sipo wood. The specialist removals firm Mobull expertly manoeuvred it through the museum’s main door, where a truck waited outside to carry it off to its new home.

The pirogue is moving out...

The pirogue is moving out… Click the image to see more

All this took place under the watchful eyes of the press and other spectators including Philippe Courard, State Secretary for Science Policy, and Servais Verherstraeten, State Secretary for the Public Buildings Administration.

At the same occasion the keys to the museum were handed over symbolically to Denys SA, the contractors for the renovation, with museum director Guido Gryseels passing them first to Courard, who then gave them to museum ‘owner’ Verherstraeten. He in turn handed them over to the contractors.

For 56 years, the pirogue stood proudly in Tervuren amidst showcases of ethnographic objects. Now, as the renovation goes into full swing, it will find itself among Sea King helicopters, Caravelles, and other vehicles in the hangar of the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History in Brussels.