The Visible Storage
The Visible Storage
The collection housed in the MAS | Museum aan de Stroom totals some 470,000 objects.
Part of the collection is kept in two brand-new storerooms elsewhere in the city, but the MAS also has a storeroom under its own roof housing approximately 180,000 collectors’ items. This Visible Storage provides visitors with a rare opportunity to look behind the scenes. It also tells the fascinating story of a history of active collecting.
When it comes to filling its galleries, the MAS can draw on a large collection of approximately 470,000 objects. Most of these items are either in the museum or in one of the two brand-new storerooms elsewhere in the city. When not on display, 180,000 objects are to be found in the MAS’s unique Visible Storage.
A look behind the scenes
The Visible Storage provides visitors with a rare opportunity to look behind the scenes. From behind a transparent wall, they can view objects not on display in the galleries. The first part of this storage area, which is not open to the public, is packed floor to ceiling with labelled items.
The objects in the Visible Storage are preserved in the best possible conditions with the climate control system providing a constant temperature and humidity level. As an additional precaution, the items are stored in acid-free boxes, in special containers or in museum foam. Here museum staff check and record the objects and pack and unpack loaned items.
On collecting and collections
The public does have access to the second part of the Visible Storage, which tells the fascinating story of a history of active collecting. Back in the nineteenth century numerous eminent collectors laid the foundations for the City of Antwerp’s diverse collection and it is these items which are now in the Visible Storage area:
archaeological finds belonging to Georges Hasse (1880-1956),
folkloric and exotic objects belonging to Max Elskamp (1862-1931),
popular devotional objects collected by Octavie Du Caju-Van Walle (1892-1977),
ship models belonging to Emiel Beuckeleers (1854-1945),
paintings and photographs of the port by René De Bock (1885-1968)
and ethnography from the former Belgian colony, the Congo, from the collection of Henri Pareyn (1869-1928).
The display cases also contain highly-prized items belonging to the collector and knight Smidt van Gelder (1878-1956).