A Common Dynamic
The University of Liège has numerous collections. Some of them are in museums and are known to the general public. But the majority of these collections, kept within the University departments or services, are not very accessible or known. The items in these collections, which are of various kinds and origins and are scattered throughout the University's various sites, constitute an important part of our heritage, established over the course of the institution's two-hundred-year history.
Whether these collections are the result of scientific research, teaching activities, or what is traditionally called "art", in short whether they are "scientific" or "artistic", these pieces are witnesses of ways of showing the world and experiencing it. As such, they are tools for critical and civic thinking.
The items in the University collections - whether because of their nature or their uses - are traces of a human adventure, that of the elaboration of knowledge. At a time when the spread of conspiracy theories and fake news is intensifying, particularly through new communication channels, it is particularly important to show how valid and legitimate knowledge is constructed. To achieve this objective, the University's collections are an effective tool: they provide a solid basis for making the scientific process, reliable knowledge, the links between science and society, the plurality of disciplines, and the extent of what remains to be understood, perceptible.
The need to federate the various collections of the University became obvious. Gathered within a single entity - the Cultural and Museum Centre - and governed, within this Centre, by a common policy, the collections respond to an essential function of universities: offering a service to society.
Indeed, the University must promote and share a heritage as exceptional as its own. For even though the items were born and/or are preserved at ULiège, they still remain the heritage of all. They represent a common good. On the strength of this heritage, the Cultural and Museum Centre is therefore a democratic place in the strongest sense of the word: within it, the mechanisms of knowledge - which are the sine qua non of democracy - are available to all.