Museum •  History  

In 1570, when the building of today’s Mask Museum was the residence of a noble Binchois family, the Lalaing, it was bought back by the canon Jean Duquesne who decided to house a school there.

In 1757 the building was taken over by the Augustinians and renamed into “Collège des Augustins”; it was not until1778 that it was given the general aspect that we know today.

The French Revolution imposes secular education until 1880, the year in which the school passes again into the hands of the Catholics and is from now on called “Municipal Middle School” which quickly moves to the “Collège Notre-Dame de Bon Secours”. The building then becomes a public secondary school and in 1975 its function definitely changes: with the support of the mayor and deputy Charles Deliège, the folklorist Samuël Glotz obtains the authorisation to found at that place the international Carnival and Mask Museum. Samuël Glotz becomes the first curator of this museum.

During the thirty years following the museum’s opening, the first curator and later on his successor, Michel Revelard, never stop enriching the collections of this institution - unique of its kind - through numerous and exceptional acquisitions. Today, the Mask Museum, with its about 10 000 objects (masks, disguises, puppets and accessories used in masked traditions), is not only a museum dedicated to the masked traditions of the whole world, but also a research and documentation centre focussing on the study and the preservation of masking traditions on the five continents.