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.
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.
- More pictures
- Learn more about the pirogue in our ‘Treasure of the month’ series: http://www.africamuseum.be/home/treasures/groteprauw_nov12