All the museums in Brussels, Part 2
Maison Cauchie / Cauchiehuis
I unfortunately did not go into this museum, as when I walked by it I only knew it as a really pretty house and only later realized what it actually was. Its story began when Paul Cauchie met Caroline “Lina” Voet while they were both attending the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels. They married in 1905 and decided to design their new home together, making sure its façade advertised both of the services they offered the public — his sgraffiti and her art teaching. There was the intention to host a Tintin Museum inside the home in 1979, but the plan never made it through due to lack of interest and funding. The home opened in 1994 as a museum.
Muséum des sciences naturelles de Belgique / Museum voor Natuurwetenschappen van België
The Museum of Natural Sciences of Belgium was first opened in 1846, based mostly on a collection established by Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine, dating from the 18th century. Bernard du Bus de Gisignies, a Belgian scientist and politician, donated over 2,000 birds from his own collection to the museum when he was made the first director of the museum upon its opening.
Its dinosaur hall (the Janlet wing) was renovated in 2007, making it the world’s largest museum hall completely dedicated to dinosaurs.
Meet Stan, the largest and most complete male Tyrannosaurus rex known today. He measures a whooping 12.2 meters long and 3.7 meters tall (~40 and 10 feet, respectively), and was discovered in South Dakota, USA, where the original this cast was made from resides. His skeleton shows broken and healed ribs, fused and rigid vertebrae caused by excess bone growth, and a hole in the back of his skull that is a perfect match for the tooth of a T. rex. But — get this — he survived all of these, as all his wounds were either already healed or were in progress by the time he died.
The most important piece in the museum is a collection of 30 fossilized Iguanodon skeletons, which were discovered 322 meters underground in a coal mine in Bernissart, Belgium in 1878. A whole section of the museum, located underground, displays the fossils in the exact position in which they were found.
Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique / Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium are a group of six museums collecting over 20,000 drawings, sculptures, and paintings, spanning from the early 15th century to the present.
The Oldmasters collection was founded in 1801 by Napoleon Bonaparte and originally named Musée royal d’art ancien (Royal Museum of Ancient Art). The bulk of its collection, which covers a period running from the 15th to the 18th centuries, revolves around Flemish painting, but also includes works by French and Italian masters, among others.
It is also home to this gorgeousity: The Death of Marat, by Jacques-Louis David, painted in 1793. It depicts Jean-Paul Marat, a French political theorist, physician, and scientist, after being assassinated by Charlotte Corday, as they stood on opposing sides of the French Revolution.
Musée Magritte Museum
The Magritte Museum began as a collection hosted in the Salle Magritte of the Museum of Modern Art of Brussels, often highlighted by its Chief Curator, Philippe Roberts-Jones. Charly Herscovici, president of the Magritte Foundation, reached out in 2005 in order to find a location in which to establish a Magritte Museum. The Hotel Altenloh, restored in 1984 and often used as a temporary exhibition space for 19th-century art, was chosen, and on June 2nd, 2009, the Musée Magritte Museum opened its doors to the public.
This was our lunch/dinner spot for the day. Ballekes is a meatball and fries restaurant located near the Grande Place. It seeks to create authentic ballekes (as meatballs are known in Belgium), though they still provide yummy vegan options.