This blog post is a bit late but I still wanted to write a bit and show some photos of my visit to the Huis Van Alijn museum (“House of Alijn”) in Ghent a month ago because I really enjoyed it. Huis Van Alijn is the museum of daily life. It’s a fun museum to explore at any time because the permanent exhibition (which is regularly updated/changed) is well worth a visit and I think it’s a fun activity in these weird times. But I especially wanted to see their current exhibition about protests and parades…
My friend F invited me to visit the exhibition “De Straat Op” or “Into The Streets” which is all about marches, parades and street protests. This includes Pride, carvanal and folklore parades, climates marches, protests for nuclear disarmament, and more. The first room we entered had a map of Belgium where visitors could pinpoint parades or marches that they had been to or heard of. Some examples were the Reclaim the Streets and Riot Don’t Diet protests in Hasselt in 2004 and the Heksennacht (also spelled Hexennacht, protests against gendered violence) in Ghent. In other rooms there were costumes (some you could even try on yourself!) and models for wagons from folklore parades. They also displayed documents typed up at meetings that showed how protests were organised decades ago. I enjoyed the variety of posters on the walls, often visually very pleasing. Finally, there was a room full of protest signs and a magnetic board that allowed visitors to assemble their own – activist or absurd, we went for the latter – slogans.
While you’re there, don’t miss out on the permanent exhibition. The displays here are always a mix of “oh, do you remember this?” and “what the hell is that?”. 🙂 You can see toys that you may remember from your childhood as well as mysterious items used for devotion and divination. I enjoyed seeing a few sewing machines (one of my obsessions) as well as witchy-looking objects (another obsession). The latter was also shown at the Witches exhibition I recently visited. The teenage bedroom was also fun to explore, with posters of “idols” from over the past decades as well as music festivals from the 1960s on (including some that my parents went to), cassette tapes (which I love too), and a computer on which you can play Pacman. I like that the exhibition incorporates interactive elements that appeal to both children and (sort-of) grown-ups. Like the jukebox/karaoke installation where I couldn’t resist mimicking a scene from the TV show Community with Seal’s “Kiss from a rose”. 🙂 Last but not least, there is a photomaton in the museum which always makes for a perfect souvenir!
“Into the Streets” exhibition on the website of the museum (info available in English, French, and Dutch – exhibition runs until May 8th 2022)
Photos taken at the “Into the Streets” exhibition:
And here is an image from lovely Ghent: