CReA-Patrimoine is reflecting on the museography of scientific and university heritage through exhibitions led by its various teams and in conjunction with the ULB Museum Network created in 2003 ( This network brings together most of the actors in charge of heritage within the university community and combines field work with general theoretical reflection, including in museology.
Since its creation, the main objective of the ULB Museums Network has not only been the study and preservation of the university collections, but also to disseminate them to the public at large. The Network's motivation is the real desire to bring the public into contact with two types of institutions with very similar faces: the Museum and the University. Indeed, research and progress tools and guardians of heritage, museums and universities are also the conciliators of art and science, fields too often considered as antagonistic. The Network therefore organizes each year thematic activities bringing together most of the museums and collections of the University.

It began with internal events within the University: ULB Museum Sundays and the organization, at the Allende Hall, of two exhibitions in which the CReA-Patrimoine participated (ULBulles - ULB Museums host the comic strip in 2009 and Unsuspected research beauties - Drawing in the ULB collections in 2012). 

Very quickly, the members of the Network were keen to open up to the outside world by participating in various programmes at local, regional and international level: Brussels Museums Nocturnes (Brussels Museums Council), Printemps des musées and Nuit européenne des musées (ICOM), Fascination of Plants' Day, Nuit des chercheurs, Fête de l'Iris, etc. 

In April 2000, representatives of the collections and museums of twelve European universities gathered in Halle, Germany (Halle Declaration, 16/04/2000) decided to found UNIVERSEUM - Academic Heritage and Universities. However, it was not until 2010, during a meeting at the Gustavianum Museum of the University of Uppsala, that the association with its own statutes and governance was created. 
Since 2011, the Network decided to participate in the European Academic Heritage Day set for November 18 by Universeum. The theme of the first edition was Objects in context. The aim was to put the objects of the university collections in context, analysing them from a new angle in order to raise questions and debate. The Network invited its members and anyone interested to visit the Spectatorium of Anatomy at the Leopold Park, proposed by Stéphane Louryan, head of the Louis Deroubaix Museum of Anatomy and Embryology. 

From 2012, the Network devoted one of its unifying activities to this European Academic Heritage Day by organising specific activities, debates, conferences and privileged access to its museums, collections and monuments. 

In 2018, the ULB Network of Museums decided to combine, on Thursday 15 November, the European Academic Heritage Day (UNIVERSEUM) and the Brussels Museums Nocturnes, by offering the public, not only academics, but also any interested person, a 15-year selection of activities and flagship exhibitions organised during its joint events combining Arts and Sciences. The Maison des Arts on the Solbosch site, the University's headquarters, was chosen as the venue for the Network's presentation. Remarkable pieces from various collections (anatomy, arts, botany, chemistry, ethnology, pharmacy, physics, science, zoology) that make up the richness of the academic heritage, were exhibited there, accompanied by their description accessible via a QR code and symbolizing the quote L’union fait la force.

The Network itself can be proud of several publications presenting from different angles the collections that make up the ULB's rich heritage. In terms of scientific publications: N. Gesché-Koning & N. Nyst (eds), Les Musées de l'ULB. L'Université libre de Bruxelles et son patrimoine culturel, Bruxelles, Réseau des Musées de l'ULB, 2009, 172 p., ill. ; M. Depraetere, N. Gesché-Koning & N. Nyst (eds.), Unsuspected research beauties. Le dessin dans les collections de l'ULB, Bruxelles, Réseau des Musées de l'ULB, 2012, 132 p., 122 ill. A third publication is due to be published in 2019 to mark the Network's 15th anniversary: N. Gesché-Koning & N. Nyst (eds), Crossed views between Arts and Sciences. The ULB Museum Network: fifteen years already. A teachers’ brochure, a Newsletter and a monthly selection of the monthly Subject of the Month should be added.


1 and 2. Samples of the collections exhibited during the 15th anniversary of the ULB Museum Network, on 15/11/2018 © N. Gesché-Koning

3. A selection of posters showing the activities of the ULB Museum Network, on 15/11/2018 © N. Gesché-Koning

4 and 5. Views of the Moulding Room © N. Gesché-Koning