The STAM collection has a long history. In 1833, a city heritage committee founded the Musée Historique Belge—the “Belgian History Museum”. The name says it all: the founders had lofty ambitions to establish a national museum. But there was no funding for such a scheme. Furthermore, it was not long before the Belgian state had set up its own museums in Brussels.
Nevertheless, donations from committee members and their friends meant that the committee was able to acquire its first collection. While the Ghent museum changed its name, location and mission more than once, the original collection moved with it. The objects in these display cases are an illustration of the ambitious acquisition policy of the museum’s early days.