The AfricaShop is an initiative on the part of BAI, which specializes in publishing art books and running museum shops. As Kathleen Borms, the business manager, explains: ‘The aim of the AfricaShop is to turn the spotlight on the extraordinary collection held at the AfricaMuseum. Together with the museum, we have developed our own product lines based on items held in the collection. These range from postcards, notebooks and fridge magnets to tote bags, posters and bookmarks. They’re striking souvenirs and a happy memory of your visit to the museum. These product lines are continually evolving and each new season sees new products complement the existing range.’
Third museum shop
The AfricaShop is BAI’s third museum shop, alongside the MASshop in Antwerp and the FlandersShop in Brussels. Kathleen Borms: ‘Each museum shop is different, because each museum is different. For us, it’s important that visitors to the museum see us as the official museum shop rather than as an outlet run by outside concession holders. That’s our philosophy, and it explains our very conscious decision at each shop to supply an exclusive range of items perfectly suited to the museum’s collections.’
A broad range of books
In addition to its own product lines, the AfricaShop is also where to find a broad range of books and music CDs on African themes. Books that are art-based, informational or literary, written by contemporary African authors, stand alongside comic strips and children’s books about the continent of Africa. We work in collaboration with renowned publishing houses that specialize in African art and literature, as well as with private individuals whose enthusiasm has resulted in the publication of a book on their own account.
Scientific and academic publications
Aficionados of antiquarian books will be in seventh heaven concerning the scientific and academic publications held at the Royal Museum for Central Africa. Since 1911, the museum has published more than 1800 works on a variety of disciplines, including biology, geology, ethnology and history. Additionally, numerous exhibition catalogues, themed museum guides and music recordings have also been published. All of these works, dating from 1911 to the present day, can be found at the AfricaShop and at our online store.
Objects with a story to tell
Aside from books, we stock a great many decorative and gift items, textiles and jewellery sourced by us direct from Africa. At present, we have on offer Kuba textiles from the Congo, as well as handwoven baskets from Swaziland, Namji dolls from Cameroon, placemats from Burundi and jewellery from Senegal, Mali and Kenya. Our selected items are the result of a ceaseless quest for sustainable materials produced under good conditions and with interesting stories attached. By that means, we’re able to provide support to local projects.
Something for foodies too
Perhaps you’d prefer a gastronomic gift. If so, you might like to get acquainted with Madagascar’s marvellous MIA brand of chocolate or discover the delicious coffee produced by Comequi from the Kivu region. Or how about trying a Congolese beer? We sell Simba lager and Tembo brown ale brewed in Lubumbashi. For the true beer connoisseur we also stock original beer glasses and a special gift box.
So, stop by our shop and feast on the splendour of Africa with your own eyes. Alternatively, visit our online store where you’ll find the product lines and books sold in partnership with the museum (AfricaShop merchandising and books), as well as scientific and academic publications.