The university collections of Liège are particularly rich, since they include several million scientific and artistic items. They are ­distributed among the various ULiège sites. Some collections are managed by laboratories or faculties, close to the academic experts who are able to use this heritage for scientific or educational purposes, while other collections are managed by internal structures or non-profit organisations.

Bringing Together the Key Players

The first mission of the Cultural and Museum Centre is to unite all the collections and museums around a single vision, a single inspiring scientific and societal project, jointly developed with all the stakeholders, in an approach based on their complementarity and respect for their specificities. The various entities of the Centre thus place their collections at the service of scientific projects and an institutional narrative.

By providing opportunities for the various teams to meet and dialogue, the Centre also intends to encourage cross-disciplinary projects, in the scientific and educational use of the collections, and in mediation and knowledge-sharing activities.

Collection Inventory

Each museum or collection has, over time, created its own inventory database to meet its own needs. Depending on the case, the inventory is sometimes complete, sometimes incomplete. The Cultural and Centre is working on the creation of these inventories and their review, but also - in part - on their harmonisation in a common catalogue which will, in the relatively near future, be searchable on the net.

Enhancing the Collections

Most scientific collections today are reserved for teaching and research. They are found in laboratories, storerooms, rolling stacks and closed cabinets, rarely in display cases. And while the passionate people in charge of these collections sometimes open them to the public during special events, they remain mostly ignored or very poorly known, even within the Institution. 

Considering the richness and ­diversity of the University's heritage, the guiding principle of the Cultural and Museum Centre is to shed light on each collection in accordance with its specific characteristics and to provide a coherent whole through a common angle of analysis, via institutional communication. The Centre is also there to organise events that will enable it to serve institutional policy, to put on activities that show and test the processes of knowledge creation, where ­critical­ thinking ­must be encouraged in an increasingly complex world, and to document the major debates of our contemporary societies.

Providing a Reflective and Critical Basis

The Cultural and Museum Centre is not so much a place for answers as for questions. The aim is to foster a critical view of science and the world. The construction and preservation of quality scientific information requires the questioning of scientific methods and knowledge.  The items in the various collections are as much witnesses to the state of the disciplines at a given time as they are the site of successive updates of the views of these same disciplines and, consequently, of the world. It is therefore important to show that knowledge rests on continually revised foundations.

Recourse to primary sources, to the materiality of the object, makes it possible to test and verify assertions. It is from a base of verifiable facts that we can build a chain of reasoning according to methods shared by the scientific community.

By showing this, the University contributes to a democratic debate and documents the major concerns of our contemporary society.

Promoting a Dialogue between the Arts and Sciences

Far from opposing the arts and sciences, the Cultural and Museum Centre aims, on the contrary, to (re)reconcile them and intensify the dialogue. While some university art collections fulfil the same research and teaching missions as science and technology collections, there are works of art and artistic activities here at the University that do not directly fulfil these missions, but offer a particular view of the world and have many points in common with research.

Towards a ULiège Museum

The Cultural and Museum Centre has the ambition of developing an emblematic exhibition and meeting place, at the articulation of the different University collections: the ULiège Museum. Likely to be located in the former Institute of Physiology on Place Delcourt, in a dedicated and identifiable geographical space, right next to the Aquarium-Museum and the House of Science, this emblematic infrastructure should become an essential anchor point for the University’s heritage in the City, close to the revitalised urban heart and the Quai Van Beneden.

In addition to permanent and temporary exhibitions and knowledge-sharing activities, the ULiège Museum will be a place for meetings, exchanges and debates on major societal issues. It will also offer a space to see research in action and to experiment with its tools and methods.

A feasibility study is underway, which will analyse the different aspects of this project: cultural, economic, real estate, geographical, etc. 

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