28/03/2019, Antwerp - Belgium

Science and Heritage 1.0

Thursday 28 March 2019 from 14:00 to 17:00
Individual visitors, Students

One of the four pillars of museum work is the scientific study of the carefully collected museum objects. Within the framework of extensive research projects on heritage collections, hard science proves its relevance more and more. The masterclass 'Science and heritage 1.0' illustrates the cooperation between the cultural heritage field and the exact sciences.


  • Welcoming by Leen Beyers, head of research and collection MAS
  • Geert Van der Snickt: 'MA-XRF scanning as a new technique to study tin-glazed ceramics: ‘The Conversion of Saul’, a 16th century Antwerp majolica tile panel'

Geert Van der Snickt, doctor in the Conservation-Restoration and heritage scientist at the University of Antwerp, talks about the tile panel 'The Conversion of Saul', a 16th century masterpiece from the MAS collection. Geert Van der Snickt applied macro X-ray fluorenscence scanning (MA-XRF) for the first time on a majolica tile panel. He explains the secrets that this new chemical imaging technique revealed. The investigation was carried out as a result of a thorough restoration of the tile tableau.

Introduced by Kristel De Vis, Head of the Conservation-Restoration department at the University of Antwerp

  • Peter Cosyns: 'Things are not always what they seem. A quest for truth'

Peter Cosyns, independent archaeologist, PhD in archeology, specialist in late-antique glass and honorary research fellow from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, discusses a so-called 19th century glass medallion from the MAS collection. His research fits within the multidisciplinary project 'Glass in MAS', which aims at a better description and significance assessment of the glass collection from the Applied Arts collection (Vleeshuis) of the MAS. The project is a collaboration between archaeological, historical and art historical researchers from the VUB and ULB, the photonic research group B-PHOT (VUB) and Dr. Geert Van der Snickt (UA). Archaeologist Peter Cosyns explains how a dubious 19th-century dating of the blue glass Alexander medallion rolled the ball. By applying the XRF method to the object successively, it turned out that further research was needed. With a surprising result.

Introduced by Julie Lambrechts, advisor conservation and restauration at 'FARO Vlaams steunpunt voor cultuur erfgoed’ 

  • Wendy Meulebroeck: 'Discover how light technology can contribute to the dating of ancient glass'

Wendy Meulebroeck, PhD in engineering sciences and professor of photonics at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Department of Applied Physics and Photonics, research group B-PHOT), is also a partner of the 'Glass in Mas' project because of her expertise in optical spectroscopy . This technique allows us to determine the origin and / or authenticity of antique glass in a non-destructive way. On the basis of a number of case studies, Wendy Meulebroeck will explain during the lecture how the interaction between light particles (photons) and the glass can provide information about the chemical composition and thus shed light on the dating of the glass.

Introduced by Annemie De Vos, keeper Applied Arts and History Antwerp MAS (collection Vleeshuis)

  • Helena Wouters: 'Twee precolumbiaanse tunjos uit de Collectie Paul en Dora Janssen-Arts bekeken door een fysico-chemische loep'

Helena Wouters, PhD in chemistry, head of the Glass and Metal laboratories, Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK), talks about her physico-chemical research on two precolumbian tunjos from the Paul and Dora Janssen-Arts Collection. With the aid of a digital microscope, the small tunjos were enlarged so that the skills of the artist could be accurately captured. With the help of radiography, seams, metal fractures and the assembly of the object were shown. Through techniques such as X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), Raster electron microscopy coupled with X-ray analysis (SEM-EDX-WDX) and metallography, the materials and techniques used by the artisans were unraveled.

Introduced by Sergio Servellón, president of ICOM Belgium Flanders


Practical information

  • Date: 28 March 2019, from 2 to 5 pm
  • Location: MAS, Hanzestedeplaats 1, 2000 Antwerpen
  • Language: English
  • Ticket: 20 euros / 5 euros for students and ICOM-menbers
  • Anyone who registers, receives a digital publication of each speaker




Registration and payment is possible until 22 March 

This masterclass is an initiative of the MAS, the Conservation-Restoration Department of the University of Antwerp, ICOM Belgium Flanders and 'FARO. Vlaams steunpunt voor cultuur erfgoed.'


More info: LINK