A 30 hectare museum
The Préhistomuseum is a new kind of archaeological museum.
For it, if prehistory tells us about our origins, it can also tell us about our present and inspire our future. This is why the Préhistomuseum has chosen to invite its visitors to experience «The extraordinary adventure of Sapiens». In the museum as in the park, everything has been designed to allow everyone to experience this fundamental adventure through archaeology and heritage. It forges interactive links between nature, heritage, the scientific study of these two, and the visitors.
The museum explores the past to understand the present and to consider the future of mankind. Thanks to original, attractive and pedagogical experiences-enactments, the museum meets 4 objectives: to provide pleasure, to generate knowledge about Prehistory, to learn to generate such knowledge and to learn to act and react.
The museum has been designed not only to encourage the visitor to observe Prehistory from the outside, but also to experience it with his five senses and with the related emotions.
To accomplish this, the museum is not confined in a building with archaeological collections. It includes a discovery trail through 30 hectares of forest, opening different through unique experiences, different doors to the past. Every visitor maps out his own path, plans his own trip through time, picturing another image of Prehistory.
A journey into nature
Nature is indissolubly linked to Prehistory. Walking in the open air, smelling the earth, listening to the forest and observing the animals: this was the daily life of our ancestors. The Préhistomuseum invites to three experiences to vividly feel the ties which unite Man with Nature.
The Barefoot path is a walk that covers about 2 km through the forest and the glade. Step by step, the walk encourages a sensorial exploration. Which footprints have prehistoric men, women and children left behind for us?
The visitor becomes hunter sapiens and goes to meet the animals of the last glacial and moderate periods of Prehistory. A reconstructed glacial steppe and a dense forest are two observation areas for prehistoric biotopes, full of realistic full-scale reproductions of prehistoric animals. While hunting with a bow and arrow or with a throwing stick, the visitor experiences the sensations of hunting societies.
With the Sapiens farmer experience, the visitor, working with agricultural tools, understands the mechanisms of prehistoric agriculture and animal husbandry. The past tells the story of the emergence of the world of the farmer-breeder, the Neolithic revolution that changed forever the relationship between man and nature.
Sapiens and his ancestors
The genealogical tree of mankind is complex and difficult to understand. Rather than presenting a long speech, the museum unfolds a real labyrinth to allow the visitor to lose himself in human evolution. Here he experiences 7 millions of years of evolution, coming to a better understanding of the relativity of science and its theories.
The conservation, study and documentation center
The Préhistomuseum allows the exclusive discovery of the hidden side of «the Iceberg» of the Museum: the center of conservation, study and documentation. Visitors can penetrate a real workspace. In real time, they witness the treatment of the collections and object storage. This is the place of an interactive discovery of the duties associated with archaeology.
In the laboratory of experimental archaeology, the visitors meet prehistorians in the process of their investigations. They learn to understand in an experimental setting the techniques of yesterday’s workmen. The visitors even take part in real reconstruction experiments.
Across the heritage
Four different and complementary experiments are devoted to the question of heritage. The protected and displayed prehistoric remains evoke wonder and reflection upon mankind and its heritage. This heritage in all its forms is unveiled in its richness and complexity.
The cave of Ramioul, an exceptional patrimonial site, constitutes the roots of the Préhistomuseum. It engages in a dialogue between excavation sites, archaeological material and the wider public. Being still in its natural condition, it reveals itself in the dark to deliver its timeless and human history.
Through real and remarkable artifacts from sites in Wallonia, the evolution of human behavior becomes visible. Going far beyond questions of chronology and value judgment, the «Tous Sapiens» exhibition demonstrates the ties which unite us with prehistoric man. Put on display and choreographed, the traces become a testimony of human nature.
Also the work of the modern artist Werner Moron leading the visitors to the limits of art constitute an ephemeral heritage. The artist surprises and instigates to action. His nomadic and temporal works evoke the contradictions of society and ask questions going back to days long past.