The historic core of the RMM weapons collection is constituted by the coherent ensemble of Belgian and foreign weapons in the reference collection of the former Manufacture d’Armes de l’Etat (M.A.E.), created in Liège in 1838.
The M.A.E. management and artillery officers obtained examples of weapons used by armies in Europe, the United States and Russia, the industrialized powers of the day.
In the course of the 19th century weapons made in Belgium are added, amongst them all official models used by the Belgian Army, Navy and Civic Guard. When the Congo Free State becomes a Belgian colony in 1908 the weapons of the Force publique are added and this specific collection is extended up till 1940.
When the Military Museum is set up in the Jubilee Park between 1923 and 1927 an important part of the M.A.E. collection is transferred to the Museum and put on display in the Technical Gallery. The items are first and foremost meant for Military Academy professors and students, but of course also enthuse collectors and amateurs the world over.
Simultaneously, the Great War collections are displayed in the “Trophy Gallery” and in the “Allied Gallery”. All this makes for an almost exhaustive overview of weaponry used by fighters during the First World War.
Through first curator in chief Louis Leconte’s insight and perseverance the Museum quickly becomes a reference with regards to international military weapons.
After the Second World War collections grow even further, thanks to the donations by collectors who fought in the resistance or who participated in the liberation of Europe. From 1945 onwards, the Museum in that way obtains large quantities of weapons taken from the enemy or presented by English, American and Russian allies.
After the Cold War weapons from the former Warsaw Pact flood the market. In the 1990s our army writes off numerous old-fashioned weapons that end up in our collection after neutralization. The presentation of course observes the strictest safety rules.
With the arrival of edged weapons and armours from the former Hal Gate Museum in 1985 our institution becomes an international reference when it comes to portable armament.
Private collections have always taken pride of place within the RMM. The best pieces in the Titeca and de Ribaucourt collections have in that way been put on display in the magnificent arcade gallery.
Not only public institutions, but also Belgian and foreign museums, researchers and collectors often call on the knowledge the Museum managed to gather over the years.