Return to source: ULB museums question the origin of their collections


This exhibition presents research into the origin of certain items as part of an international workshop on decolonisation and restitution held at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in July 2022, ahead of the Universeum (European Academic Heritage Network) annual conference. The research explored the provenance of a number of specimens (botanical, zoological and mineralogical), archives and objects from ULB’s collections. Such provenance research has become a priority for museums around the world and is among the recommendations of the publication Ethical Principles for the Management and Restitution of Colonial Collections in Belgium ( These challenging questions underpin key areas of operation of university museums and the way we manage and engage with collections.

To accompany the exhibition, a podcast by Collectif Mémoire Coloniale, in collaboration with the university’s NGO ULB-Coopération, offers a decolonial guided tour of ULB (1 hour 30 minutes, in French, visiting nine significant locations on the Solbosch Campus). It is available free of charge online on Spotify, iTunes, SoundCloud and YouTube (

An exhibition from the ULB Museums Network.

Practical information

Sat. & Sun. at 16:45 (EN), Sat. & Sun. at 14:00 and 15:00 (FR) and Sat. & Sun. at 16:00 (NL) (duration: 30 minutes)

Maison des Arts (1st floor, reception room), Avenue Jeanne/Johannalaan 56, Ixelles/Elsene

Advance booking required. Up to 15 people per tour.