Exploring Brussel's Museum of Letters and Manuscript

The entrance of Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert | © Velvet | WikiCommons
The entrance of Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert | © Velvet | WikiCommons
The curators of the Museum of Letters and Manuscript in Brussels explore the fascination with artists’ private correspondence through wide collections of letters and manuscripts selected and displayed in four sections: art, history, literature and science.
© John Calvin/WikiCommons 

This innovative new museum has a twin in Paris, Le Musée des Lettres et Manuscrits, whose collections of Proust’s, Saint-Exupéry’s, Napoleon’s, Einstein’s, Van Gogh’s and Mozart’s correspondence can produce mesmerizing journeys into artists’ lives. Private concerns and emotions are all presented through the artists’ original letters, appropriately preserved and accurately restored.

Artists’ works are often one facet of their personality and it can be difficult to understand their creation if the artist themselves are not understood. The letters provide the opportunity for a more rounded view, getting past their public selves and into a more intimate level when they write to their loved ones. In this way it also reveals to modern readers the ideas and influences of the time and seeing how or how not this has shaped them and by extension their work. After all art, in all forms, is an expression of self. The Museum of Letters and Manuscript is able to provide this unique opportunity to walk around and read letters of all ages , and through this the artists’ sense of selves are immortalised.

The gallery regularly holds special exhibitions which focus on the life and work of one particular artist and writer, and reveal how their genius is evident through their personal notes and letters. It has held exhibitions devoted to Paul Verlaine, Hugo Claus, Louis Aragon, Victor Hugo, Maurice Maeterlinck and more. Besides this, the Museum provides workshops for different ages (some accessible to hearing-impaired children) on the study of ancient languages such as Hieroglyphics and Latin. These are languages that have had a huge influence and impact on modern civilization today.

The Museum is located in Galerie du Roi 1, B-1000 Brussels, is open from 10am – 7pm Tuesday to Friday and 11am – 6pm in the weekends.