10 good reasons not to miss the opening of the GUM

(10-03-2020) Ghent already has ten or so museums and, as from Saturday 21 March, another gem will be added with the opening of the Ghent University Museum, known as GUM.

On Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 March, the time has come! Then Ghent has a new museum. The GUM (Ghent University Museum) opens its doors in the middle of the Botanical Garden, around the corner from MSKGent and S.M.A.K.

After years of planning and preparation the finish line is in sight. Don’t expect a traditional science museum but instead a forum for science, doubt and art. Michaël Mariën, communication coordinator for the GUM, gives us 10 good reasons not to miss the opening weekend on 21 and 22 March.

Opening GUM (EN-versie)1 Memorable opening

Ghent’s museums have earned rather a reputation for memorable openings. Michaël: “Those who attended the openings of the STAM or S.M.A.K. will confirm this. So what can you expect at GUM? Once again, plenty of great people, surprising activities and an unbeatable ambiance. It will be an unforgettable event. So let the FOMO begin!”




GUM 2 The star of the weekend? The museum itself.

It’s not a traditional science museum, the GUM. It’s something a bit special. Michaël: “You delve into the brains of the scientist. And at the opening weekend you can even take this quite literally … In the GUM, it is more about the scientific process than the end result. We ask ourselves what challenges scientists face, how they set to work and what room is left for imagination, doubt and failure.” The GUM gathers special objects and stories from all kinds of disciplines: ranging from biology to archaeology, psychology to medicine.


Helder in de kelder 3 Into the catacombs

Children are also welcome during the opening weekend. “They will be given the unique opportunity to dive into the GUM cellars, and explore the Veterinary collection. Including jars with preserved animals, skeletons and stuffed animals. Thrilling stuff! Note: parents are not allowed in.




Workshop syfilis4 Syphilis workshop

Do you enjoy getting stuck in to a workshop? Then the art & science workshop ‘Wax Extravaganza’ run by the British artist Eleanor Crook is rather a special one. You learn step by step - and it’s no joke! - how to model syphilis onto a wax face. You start with a sculptured face in wax and mould symptoms of the disease, to which you add your finishing touches with oil paint. Your work is based on real medical images. Is this workshop art or science, or perhaps both?

The workshop is full. But you can look inside from the museum while sculpting. Here you can put yourself on the waiting list. Or take part in one of the many other activities.


‘Van Eyck in de diepte. Frictie en harmonie door het oog van architecten en kunstenaars’5 OMG, Van Eyck is here as well!

The first pop-up exhibition ‘Van Eyck in Depth. Friction and harmony through the eyes of architects and artists’ will be launched together with the opening of the GUM. Delving into the science behind the art of  Jan van Eyck. “Sadly, Van Eyck is known not only as a brilliant painter, but also as ‘the painter who did not know the rules of perspective’. But is that really true? If so, why does his work feel so harmonious? The architect Patrick Seurinck addresses these research questions and sets to work with students from the architecture programme at Ghent University and some contemporary artists."



Twijfelsessies 6 Moments of doubt

“Scientists are also just people, and so can, may and must also have doubts at times. In the GUM Salon you can ask scientists all kinds of questions: ‘Do you sometimes have doubts? Have you ever made a mistake in your work? Are you religious and does that affect your work? Who do you most admire? Who would you like to work with in the future?’ It is sure to lead to some interesting conversations.”





Students from the Museum Student Team or MuST, present their favourite objects. Hop from one MuST SEE to the next and, in doing so, discover the exciting tales behind each one. Told by the students themselves.





Studio Cité8 Artistic installations

Two remarkable installations give the opening extra elan. “Choreographer Benjamin Vandewalle uses ‘Studio Cité’ to challenge our perception of reality. He steers and twists our view of the world. Board a mobile mirror cart, join others in forming a dancing circle or see how people find their way around wearing a periscopic mask. He challenges you to give in to new perspectives. Furthermore, the sound installation ‘Room D’ by Roel Heremans is also worth a visit. The voice in Room D takes you to the rooms in your imagination. It is about seeing and being seen, and delving into someone else’s mind.”



Plantentuin 9 Ghent Botanical Garden: green gem in the city

The GUM can be found in the middle of Ghent’s Botanical Garden. “Despite being there for many years the Botanical Garden is not well known. A visit to the GUM is therefore a wonderful way to discover this green scientific gem in the middle of the city. Definitely take a walk in the greenhouses. You may even hear one of our cheerful frogs."





Foodmarket 10 Delicious local drinks and snacks

It wouldn’t be a party without food and drink! Some local Ghent producers, including Madam Bakster, RØk and Yugen kombucha, will be serving their products in the beautiful Palmarium in the Botanical Garden.”





Opening GUM (EN-versie)Opening weekend GUM

The doors of the GUM will be festively opened on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 March. Everyone is very welcome for tours, workshops and much more!