The Belgian town of Binche is famed for its carnival, which was even declared a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’ by UNESCO in 2003. The town is also home to a fascinating museum dedicated to carnivals and masked traditions – not only in Binche, but across the entire world. “There is something unique to learn and understand from the masks in our collection, whether they come from Belgium, Africa, or anywhere else,” enthuses Clémence Mathieu, director and curator at the Musée International du Carnaval et du Masque. Home to around 10, 000 objects including masks, disguises and puppets, the museum is also a research and documentation centre focussing on the study and the preservation of global masking traditions.

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