Newly refurbished Curtius museum reopens to the public
Following an eight-year refurbishment, the Grand Curtius museum has reopened its doors much to the delight of locals and the 10 000 visitors who attended the inaugural weekend. The historical centre of the city of Liège is regaining its former prestige and popularity as people flock to step back in time through the museum’s many collections dating back nearly 7 000 years.
"The popularity of the opening weekend was a very positive sign for the future. It showed that expectations and interest levels were extremely high among the locals."
Jean-Pierre Hupkens, alderman for culture
Backed by funding worth some €50 million from the EU, the Walloon Region, the French Community of Belgium and the City of Liège, the Curtius museum is now a worthy home for its valuable religious art collection and the 5 200 regional and international archaeology, weaponry, decorative artefacts it holds.
Protecting and promoting heritage
The museum itself was built at the turn of the 17th Century as a private mansion for Jean Curtius, an industrialist and munitions supplier to the Spanish army. Alternating layers of red brick and natural stone as well as cross-mullioned windows typify the regional style of the time known as 'Mosan', which originated in the valley areas of the Meuse and the Rhine.
Three specialist museums are housed on the Curtius complex: a weaponry museum, archaeology and decorative arts museum, and a museum for religious and Mosan art. The purpose of the re-development was to re-organise the collections held by these three museums and to design two thematic tours for visitors.
Drawing in the visitors
Investment for the project was divided up into three strands: technical equipment and buildings (48.5%); museography and scenography (24.5%) and renovation of the buildings on the Maastricht quay (15.5%). The remaining 11.5% was spent on surveys, marketing and fees.
It is expected the Curtius museum will draw in between 50 000 and 100 000 visitors each year, providing a welcome boost for the region’s economy.