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KMPG Partner Stories

Royal Museums of Art and History

Dr. Serge Lemaitre, Curator of Pre-Columbian collections

Partner Stories: Royal Museums of Art and History

In this series, we present the partners in view of the end-user with regard to the solutions ENIGMA develops.

We start with the Royal Museums of Art and History (Brussels, Belgium) curator from the Pre-Columbian collections, Dr. Serge Lemaitre. But before a few words from him some information on the museum: The Royal Museums of Art and History (KMKG) are one of eleven Federal Scientific Research Institutes resorting under BELSPO, Belgium Science Policy.

The museums present a worldwide variety of collections, ranging from  antiquities to art nouveau, in 4 locations in Brussels. The Art and History Museum is located in the Cinquantenaire Parc, adjacent to the European Institutions. In the ENIGMA project, KMKG is responsible for communication,  dissemination and training the end-users on the solutions developed by the project.

Serge’s view on ENIGMA: “The present project ENIGMA is an important contribution to the general strategy of Art & History Museum. Protection of cultural goods and sites and the becomes more and more important. Recently the wars in Syria gave looters and smugglers plenty of opportunity to exploit the situation. Artefacts were recovered and transported by drug traffickers all over the world.

My colleagues at the Middle East department were involved in some rescue operations. But I am more familiar with the crafty forgers from South America, who recreate the past and try to have their material authenticated. That is were police , customs, trade-officers and heritage experts come into play. Where for me, as an expert on the culture, identification and authentication are more or less straightforward, for non experts, this must be very difficult to do. Currently information that would help the non-experts is sparse, distributed and not easy to find.

There are for example already 10 international databases on stolen cultural goods. ENIGMA’s plans to link these resources will be beneficial to all authorities involved. The colleagues in the field because they will have better information available more easily. And help me, as they will probably consult me less with inquiries on provenance, forgeries etc, leaving room for other tasks .

I also see that European Commission and UNESCO become more and more active in this domain. That is probably why ENIGMA along with 2 other projects have been selected for funding last year and the website form these organisations are expensive and up to date. (Ed. Find the link here….) .

Personally, I am also particularly interested in 3D technology. I look forward to the results of 3D models that have been created both from an original model with added, digital completion and to see how they will be put to use in the field.”

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