Research project: CAHN

Research project: CAHN

Some collections in the Historical Gallery, dedicated to Belgian military history in 1830-1914, and in particular the African showcases, have been subjected to inventory control since 1 February 2021. War Heritage Institute scientists and collection staff, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and the Royal Museum for Central Africa are examining this unique and important heritage in order to learn more about its origins and history. The study of these objects takes place within the framework of a prestigious and multidisciplinary BRAIN project entitled CAHN, and is sponsored by the Department of Belgian Scientific Policy.

In a first phase, which started last year, 700 objects from the Historical Gallery were briefly taken out of the showcases, their material condition was checked, and the available information was verified and completed. The work was carefully prepared and carried out by WHI collection staff and VUB intern Larissa. The item was then immediately returned to its original spot and the showcase reclosed, awaiting further research this year.

Domestic and foreign experts have subjected the items to further in-depth research from January 2022 onwards. The second phase treats and restores a selection of paper, leather and wood objects. In 2023 metal and textile collection items will be scrutinized.

In 2023 the labels and gallery texts of the African showcases will be renewed and completed with the most recent information resulting from the research. Finally, the information will be put online in 2024.


This picture shows Ilse and our intern Larissa removing the objects to identify them and to check their material condition. The other picture shows the two restorers Clara and Alexia at work. It is a meticulous job requiring both method and patience.

The War Heritage Institute is proud of its collections and excited that the research is taking place in the framework of a stimulating and fruitful cooperation with a Federal Scientific Institution and the academic world.

It is with great pleasure that we will inform you about the future activities within this project: to be continued!