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Musée d'Ixelles wins award for bringing collection to people's homes

18:00 16/12/2021

A Brussels museum, closed for renovations, has won a prestigious award for allowing people to borrow works from the collection and put them on display in their own homes.

The Musée d’Ixelles has won the 2021 European Art Explora Award, which rewards museum projects that are conceived to attract visitors who do not normally visit cultural institutions.

The award is bestowed to institutions in three categories of attendance: less than 100,000 annual visitors (such as the Musée d’Ixelles), up to 500,000 and above 500,000. The other two categories were won by the Monnaie de Paris and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

The winning Ixelles project is entitled Musée Comme Chez Soi (Museum at Home), which saw 10 people living near a museum choose a work of art in the museum’s collection to put on display in their home for a weekend.

Claire Leblanc, director of the Ixelles Museum, explained: “On the Saturday the hosts present the work to their family, friends, and neighbours, and then on Sunday, the house is open to the public who can walk from house to house and admire the 10 works on display in an original context. This was done on six different weekends for a total of 60 works of art.”

The award includes a €50,000 prize which the museum says is very welcome. “It represents half of the cost of the next two editions of the festival in 2022 and 2023, which means that we will be able to do a total of four weekends in neighbourhoods close by,” said Leblanc.

The next edition of Musée Comme Chez Soi will be on the weekend of 26 June.

The museum itself, which boasts a rich collection of Belgian art from the 19th century to today, has been closed for four years and will be closed for two more years as the facility is completely renovated and expanded. It will reopen in spring 2024.

Photo: Clémentine Roche

Written by Richard Harris