» The collections » Overview


The mask and the practices related to it have many facets – just as many as there are contexts in which they occur. The Museum illustrates this richness. Its objects come from all around the world and are inherently eclectic. The collections comprise more than 11 000 object numbers including masks, but also costumes, puppets, musical instruments, ritual objects, posters, sound recordings (compact discs, records) and video documentaries. These objects do not only give us information on the social and/or religious aspects of the practices they belong to, but also, on a broader level, on the history and the daily lives of the populations that created them.

The diversity of the Museum’s collections fulfils the need to restitute the local context of the masking practice. Even if the « object-mask » has particularly attracted the attention of conservators, researchers, collectors and the public, it only represents a tiny part of the practice. The Museum’s extensive archives also contribute to putting these objects back into their context by means of a scientific library, films, photographs, music, sound recordings and interviews. The archives on the Carnival of Binche include 800 old photographs and also posters allowing us to comprehend the historic development of this carnival.