The new temporary exhibition Human Zoo. The age of colonial exhibitions recounts the now-forgotten history of persons put on display as ‘living exhibits’, illustrated by exceptional images and documents that in some cases are on public view for the first time.

This exhibition was first presented in 2012 in Paris (Musée du Quai Branly)in the framework of a partnership between the Groupe de recherche Achac and the Foundation Lilian Thuram - Éducation contre le racisme. From 9 November 2021, the exhibition will be held at the AfricaMuseum to mark the 125 years since the colonial exhibition of 1897 took place in Tervuren. The museum invites its visitors to reflect on the impact of these ‘human zoos’.

While the exhibition focuses on the ‘Congolese villages’ of Tervuren, Antwerp (1885 and 1894) and Brussels (1958), it also zooms out to show the phenomenon’s truly global context. Persons from all over the world were exhibited in ‘human zoos’, and some lost their lives in the West.

All in all, these exhibitions – poised somewhere between popular entertainment and scientific interest – welcomed more than a billion and a half visitors eager to see the inferior ‘Other’. 

The artists Teddy Mazina and Romeo Mivekannin make an important contribution to the exhibition. 

The museum will also offer a broad cultural programme, including monthly lectures on topics such as colonisation, decolonisation and (anti)racism.

The curators of the exhibition are Pascal Blanchard (Achac) and Maarten Couttenier and Mathieu Zana Etambala (both associated with the AfricaMuseum).



Permanent exhibition + Expo 'Human zoo'

  • Standard: € 16
  • Seniors: € 14
  • Students: € 8


  • Standard: € 10
  • Seniors: € 8
  • Students: € 4


  • Standard: € 12
  • Seniors: € 8
  • Students: € 4