35 th International Antwerp Historical Arms Fair
Saturday 14th of February 2015
( 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.)
Sunday 15th of February 2015
( 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Venue: Exhibition Hall "KIELPARK"
B 2020 Antwerp
(next to the police station)
ARMS FAIR IMPRESSIONS
June 2009: "MUSKET" visits the "Grand Curtius"
museum at Liège
by Richard Cootmans
The Grand Curtius consists of four buildings and globalises several Liège museums, which are representative for the different branches of the Liège industry in the 19th century, and therefore also for the Liège arms trade which was on that moment on its peak. The objects exhibited are the expression of an artistic and technical knowhow from the most remarkable historical periods of the city of Liege.
The former world-famous arms museum on the Quai the Maestricht, which housed a magnificent collection of small arms documenting the tradition of weapons manufacture in Liège dating back to the 14th C., was dismantled after having been closed for the public for years and the collection partially moved to the Grand Curtius.
The intention was commendable, but the result leaves much to be desired. In two large rooms, and also scattered in the other rooms one can examine about 500 firearms and other weapons, whereas the former museum exhibited approximately 5.000 items, which is more than a drastic cut. Concretely, this means that the former reserve has now grown to approximately 18.000 items!
curator of the Grand Curtius claimes that parts of this reserve will be
exhibited sporadically on another location in due time, and furthermore, that
this reserve could be made accessible to the seriously collector, but only by
appointment. The rooms are dimly lit, and the lighting of the showcases is
insufficient to make out any details. The accompanying texts (on small tickets)
and audio guide devices are in the French language only. The explanatory tickets
are attached at knee-level and reading is obviously not easy.
Some arms in the showcases are attached at a height of 2.5 meters, and looking at them sometimes results in being blinded by the spotlights... Taking photographs is not allowed!
Although worth visiting, it is a bit disappointing to those who have known the former arms museum.