Ghent already has a handful of museums and, as from Saturday 3 October, it is to welcome another gem with the opening of the GUM, Ghent University Museum.
No traditional science museum, but a forum for science, doubt and art. Michaël Mariën, head of communication for the GUM, gives us 10 good reasons not to miss the opening month - from 3 to 31 October.
1 Coronaproof opening for GUM
"The GUM is opening its doors at last! We are delighted to be able to share our brand-new science museum with you", says Michaël with great enthusiasm. Of course, a visit to the GUM has been made entirely coronaproof. That means making a prior reservation for the day (except Wednesday) on which you wish to visit the new museum and Botanical Garden. Also, weekday visits during the opening month (again except Wednesdays) are completely free of charge. During the weekend, a choice of six different menus gives you the chance to dive deeper into the new ’Forum for Science, Doubt & Art’. And to quote the legendary words of Johan Cruijff: Every cloud has a silver lining. The fact the capacity per day is limited means that the opening will now last a whole month instead of just one weekend. Disinfectant gel is provided throughout, a mouth mask is obligatory and screens are touched using a stylus.
2 The star of the weekend? The museum itself.
It’s not a traditional science museum, it’s the GUM! A unicum or "specialleke" as the locals might say. Michaël: "You delve into the head of the scientist... and can take this quite literally during the opening month. In the GUM it’s more about the scientific process than the end result. We ask ourselves about the challenges faced by the scientist, how they set to work, and what room remains for imagination, doubt and failure." The GUM gathers special objects and stories from a variety of disciplines: from biology and archaeology to psychology and medicine.
3 Into the catacombs
Children are also welcome during the opening month. "Each Sunday, they can enjoy the unique opportunity to dive into the GUM cellars together with their family, and explore the Zoology collection. This includes the discovery of glass jars filled with preserved creatures, skeletons and stuffed animals. On Saturdays, children can team up with the Ministry of Investigative Affairs." Exciting!
4 Menu or à la carte?
Each weekend during the month of October we will offer a series of menus and à la carte activities. You can choose one of the six (free) menus, to suit your bubble. Can’t get enough of it? Then combine a free museum visit with one of the original workshops, artistic performances and many other goodies. On Saturday 3 October we kick off with a graffiti workshop in the EXPERIENCE menu. The first 90 minutes are spent in the museum. Then the next hour is devoted to testing your inspiration and creativity in the artistic workshop, giving you the chance to follow in the footsteps of street artist ROA. The other menus are FAMILY, ART &. DIE HARD, VAN EYCK and BASIC.
5 OMG, Van Eyck is here too!
The opening of the GUM will be combined with the launch of the first pop-up exhibition: ’Van Eyck in depth. Friction and harmony through the eyes of architects and artists’. A glimpse into the science behind the art of Jan van Eyck. "Van Eyck is not only known for being a brilliant painter, but also as ’the painter who did not know the laws of perspective’. However, is that really true? Then why does his work feel so harmonious? Architect Patrick Seurinck sets to work on these research questions, together with architecture students from Ghent University and a number of artists."
6 How about a Die Hard menu?
It’s nothing to do with John McClane, but the GUM is featuring its very own DIE HARD menu. "Scientists are people too, which means they can, may and must have their doubts at times. Of course, the same applies to visitors. Do you have some questions or reservations after your visit? Good news! We’ll give you the chance to discuss these in great detail during a follow-up session with a curator from the GUM, accompanied by a scientist or artist."
7 Free for students
The entire opening month is free of charge! Not only at the weekend. So, students, here’s the perfect, coronaproof weekday activity! Discover the brand-new science museum during a spare hour or after your lessons. It’s sure to fill you with inspiration.
8 Forum for Science, Doubt & ART
At the weekend you can also discover different artistic installations. Including an exclusive visit to the workshop of the participating artist Lieven Lefere in NUCLEO (Lindenlei, Ghent) in the VAN EYCK menu. You enter a truly 3-dimensional and yet imaginary space, based on the architecture in the ’Madonna with canon Van der Paele’. "The sound installation ’Room D’ by Roel Heremans is also well worth a visit. The voice in Room D guides you through the rooms in your imagination. It’s about watching and being watched, and delving into somebody else’s head." This is in the ART & SCIENCE menu.
9 Ghent’s Botanical Garden: a green gem in the city
The GUM is located in the middle of Ghent’s Botanical Garden. "The Botanical Garden is little known, despite being there for many years. So a visit to the GUM is a great way to discover this green scientific gem in the heart of the city. And don’t forget the greenhouses! One of my personal favourites is the tropical greenhouse. I just love getting lost among the palm trees. It’s such a unique spot.
10 Discover the dark side of science
"We will conclude the opening month on 31 October with Dark Saturday. Don’t expect pumpkins, trick or treat, or fancy costumes, but a fascinating visit during which we delve deeper into the dark side of science and our collection. Whether it’s forensic medicine or voodoo, getting lost among skeletons and glass jars, or some shady sketching sessions. The planning for Dark Saturday will be online as from early October."
The opening month of the GUM (Ghent University Museum) will last from Saturday 3 to Saturday 31 October. During the weekend you can choose from a selection of menus: FAMILY, EXPERIENCE, ART &. DIE HARD, VAN EYCK and BASIC. During the week (except on Wednesday) you can also visit the museum free of charge. Note: online reservation is a must. Address: Ledeganckstraat 35, 9000 Ghent. Just around the corner from S.M.A.K. and MSKGent, at the Citadelpark.