Missiemuseum Steyl

Steyl, Netherlands | C.1931

Photo Credit: @stnbrchr

The Missiemuseum Steyl – also refered to as the Steyl Mission Museum – houses an ethnological and natural history collection in the monastery village of Steyl. Founded by a Dutch missionary group, the Congregation of the Divine Word, the Museum was established after its congregation began collecting objects from countries where they conducted missionary work.

Intended to educate future missionaries and visitors on distant countries and cultures, the congregation began sending objects to the St. Michael Mission House in 1879. After fifty years, the collection grew so large that it was forced to move to a newly built structure and the Museum was formally established.

Visitors can explore ethnography, wood carving and taxidermy exhibitions. The ethnography collection includes art, utensils and clothing from Asia, Indonesia, Africa and South America. The wood carvings collection includes pieces from the Indonesian Muslim artist, Iko.

The taxidermy collection includes nearly 1,500 stuffed mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects. The display cases that house the systematically arranged insects, including butterflies, beetles, spiders, scorpions and other arthropods, reach the ceiling and are fairly unique within the Dutch museum landscape.

A true icon of the museum is the brown bear, which welcomes visitors at the entrance to the permanent collection. Purchased in 1932 by the Museum’s first curator, Father Berchmans, the bear hails from Russia and is automated to move its head and mouth.

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