Museums began in Brussels in the late 18th century when art works from the collection of Charles of Lorraine formed the nucleus of the Musée d'Art ancien. With the Musée d'Art moderne it forms the Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique (Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium).
   The museums of the Cinquantenaire—Musées royaux d'Art et d'Histoire, Musée royal de l'Armée et de l'Histoire militaire—date from the late 19th century as does the Musée de la Ville de Bruxelles (Museum of the City of Brussels), founded in 1887, which is housed in the Maison du Roi.
   The Museum of Musical Instruments (Musée des Instruments musicales) dates from 1 February 1877. It opened as an adjunct to the Conservatoire royal de Musique. The foundation of the collection is based on instruments assembled by François-Joseph Fétis, which was bought by the Belgian government in 1872, together with over 100 instruments offered to King Leopold II by the Rajah Suorindro Mohun Tagore. The museum is housed in Old England. The museum together with those of the Cinquantenaire, the Pavillon Chinois, and the Tour Japonais form the Musées royaux d'Art et d'Histoire (Royal Museums of Art and History).
   Since October 1989 the Comic Strip Museum (Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée) houses 40,000 printed titles and 5,000 original drawings at its location on rue de Sables. The Museum of Flemish Life and Archives of Brussels (Archief en Museum van het Vlaams Leven te Brussel) was founded in 1977 as the capital's primary repository for preservation of Dutch-language life in Brussels.
   The museum of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (rue Vautier 29) houses more than 30 million specimens, including the Dautzenberg Collection of mollusks, one of the five largest in the world.
   Brussels boasts approximately 90 museums, including those dedicated to cinema (1938), printing (1977), fencing (1982), radiology (1990), cocoa and chocolate (1998), and those devoted to beer, postal services and communications, the Belgian Resistance, toys, trams, coins, freemasonry, barrel organs, plastic furniture, tin and lead figurines, and the city's sewers, among others.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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