Discover the virtual tour of our permanent collections.
Our permanent collections, room by room...
Several interactive tools mark out the route of the permanent exhibition visit, illustrated by pictures on the medieval Meuse. The ultimate objective is to re-appropriate the medieval inheritance to gain a better understanding of the constituent elements of our environment and contribute to their future management.
The Meuse river has always inspired the poets by its sinuous course, its crystal-clear water, its banks, its flooded meadows, its impregnable rocks. The Meuse, the way of penetration and strategic commercial axis, constitutes a zone of cultural brilliance and a coveted territory. The Meuse valley to-day is the reflection of an ancestral inheritance. Marked out by its castles, its bridges, its cities and its villages, it attracts our attention from Sedan to Maastricht.
An exceptional 5.5 meter-long model represents the valley of the Meuse between Sedan and Maastricht. The visitor can discover its history through the tracks which it bequeathed us. Besides the historic and geographical frame, the everyday life of the men along the river is depicted.
Behind the walls...
Different poles of life, the castle and the city enable us to approach the military, urban and architectural aspects of the Middle Ages. Original illustrations and scenography sometimes value a castle motte, sometimes Bouvignes, a medieval city.
Behind the walls : the castle
A reflection of aristocratic development in the 10th century, the earth and wood castle evolved into a stone building in the 13th century. Castle architecture became richer; the keep for residential and then defensive purposes was superseded by the more comfortable dwelling as the evolution of the castle followed changes in the techniques of weaponry and siege artillery until the end of the 15th century. Stone and then cast-iron cannonballs then caused the death of the fortified castles in a slowly changing socio-political, military and ideological context.
Behind the walls : the town
From the High Middle Ages cities along the Meuse are above all placesof exchanges. Little by little, the increasing activity of the rural world feeds the urban economy and nurtures a demographic development. Shielded by high surrounding walls, cities develop political, administrative and religious activities. "The aire of the city gives feedom" says a German proverb of the 15th century. Eager to freee themselves from the lords' authority, the burghers join together, from the 11th century, to gain privilieges such as the right to meet, to deliberate and to judge. Theses new freedoms are recorded in charters. The belfry is the first building established as a symbol of the municipal liberties.
Shadow and light
A route within medieval society allows us to meet people in their daily life and their rural activities and to have a dialogue with them.
In the Middle Ages, society was mainly rural and organized according to what is referred to as the “feudal” system. That system, based on a relationship of allegiance of man to man, guaranteed by the granting of a fief by a lord to his vassal, took on increasing importance. Castles, parishes and villages structured the countryside. From the 11th century, the growth of towns and the development of trade gave rise to the emergence of a new social class, the burghers.
Between Heaven and Earth
An atmosphere of meditation suddenly interrupts the route to evoke the role of the Church in parishes and monasteries. Various types of graves illustrate the evolution of the burial customs.
In Paradisum deducant te Angeli… May the Angels lead you into Paradise. Excerpt from the liturgy of the Service for the Dead. The major concern of man of the Middle Ages is the salvation of his soul. At the End of Time, he will be judged on his acts and will go to Hell or to Paradise. In the fear of the Judgment, the living who live in communion with the dead, seek supports from the saints, whose relics are the object of an important worship. Belief in Purgatory developed from the 12th century. Purgatory was a place and a time for “purgation”, where the souls of those who died underwent preliminary suffering before Judgment. Souls waited and suffered, but the living could relieve them, by masses said in their honour and by acts of mercy.
Mosan pottery of the Middle Ages
Since prehistoric times, cooking and serving dishes have most often been made of terracotta. It resists better than most materials to the tests of time, which makes it an archaeological witness of first importance.
During the Middle Ages, the manufacturing techniques and the shapes produced will continue to evolve. It is by observing each of these evolutionary phenomena that the ceramist tries to shed light on the little history, the one that the texts do not mention, that of the daily life of the populations who made these vessels and who, more widely, used them...
To illustrate this pottery tradition, the main theme of the permanent exhibition is the different forms of a beverage service from various Mosan workshops.
Gold of the coppersmiths
In the Middle Ages, the reputation of the copper beaters from Dinant opened the doors of the European markets to them, making this know-how an industrial and commercial success story.
Recent archaeological, historical and metallurgical research considerably increases the knowledge of the manufacturing stages, from raw material to finished products. They also show how the evolution of techniques has favoured mass production, in series and at low cost, alongside limited exceptional works, made to order.