Caves & Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura are World Heritage too!

The Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura, Germany, whose collections are at the Museum of the University of Tübingen, was also listed this weekend as World Heritage by UNESCO.

40.000 Jahre alte Figur eines Wildpferds aus der Vogelherdhöhle

Read more (in German).

This means that 2017 is already a fantastic year for university heritage in Europe.

Many congratulations to this wonderful and well deserved recognition!

University of Strasbourg is World Heritage!

The main building of the University of Strasbourg, the neo-Renaissance Palais Universitaire, constructed between 1879 and 1884 and designed by German architect Otto Warth (Photo F. Zvardon, University of Strasbourg archives, courtesy Jardin des Sciences)

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee, presently meeting in Krakow, Poland, just announced that the Neustadt — the late 19th and early 20th century urban development of the city of Strasbourg, which includes at its very heart the University of Strasbourg (the University Palace depicted in the photo, but also the Astronomical Observatory, the Botanic Garden, the Zoology Museum and Jardin des Sciences, and several other buildings) — just entered the World Heritage List.

See more here.

UMAC is extremely glad and proud of these wonderful news and congratulates the city of Strasbourg, the University of Strasbourg, and all partners involved for this successful and entirely deserved recognition.


UNIVERSEUM has a new President!



UMAC is delighted that UMAC member Sébastien Soubiran, from the Jardin des Sciences/University of Strasbourg (France), was elected President of UNIVERSEUM, the European University Heritage Network, on 10 June 2017.

UMAC wishes Sébastien the best promoting European university heritage in Europe and beyond. We are looking forward to even more collaborations with him and the newly-elected UNIVERSEUM Board.

We also profit to thank Sofia Talas, the former UNIVERSEUM President – also a UMAC member – her precious contribution to university museums and collections and to UMAC. The organisation of the last UMAC Annual Conference in Milan would have not been possible without her.

UMAC wishes both the best of successes!!!


Finding Betsie! In search of an elephant skull

At one time in its history, the Zoology Collection of the Ghent University Museum had the skull of ‘Betsie’, a locally most famous elephant of the former Ghent Zoo (1851-1904). During this period many cadavers of animals were transferred to our collection for educational purposes. But when the Ghent Zoo presented the university with the cadaver of Betsie who died in the winter of 1887-1888, the university thought it to be too expensive to process. The zoo then decided to have only the skull cleaned for their own little museum. When the Zoo went bankrupt in 1904, the Zoology Collection bought the skull at the public sale of all the Zoo’s assets.
This skull is of enormous cultural and historic value for the City of Ghent and its University. But sadly enough, not knowing what it was at the time, the skull was traded for other skull with a person called ‘Jan Cools’. When I became the curator of the Collection, and when I learned what the skull was, I tried to talk with Jan Cools who had already sold it to someone in England or even Canada, to ask him to get me the address. He promised to do so, but sadly enough he died two days later. So yet again, a dead end.
2017 is a triple anniversary: the Ghent university and the Zoology Collection are 200 years old, and I also this year I am a curator of this Collection for 20 years. It would be great to get Betsie back home for this anniversary.
So now hear my appeal: please, please, help us find back the skull of the elephant Betsie, so we can bring her back home. If anyone recognizes parts of this story or the name Jan Cools, please contact me at; also read the extended story here

Dominick Verschelde

Zoology Collection, Ghent University

Serbian University Museums and Collections

How much do you know about university museums and collections in Serbia? Probably not much, right?

A survey published this year for the Universeum annual conference in Belgrade will change that.


Živan Lazović, Darko Mitrović, and Ivana Mitrović (eds). Serbian University Heritage: University of Belgrade, 2017.


Congratulations to the editors!

Full text

UMAC Image Bank

UMAC is presently updating its website and, simultaneously, organising its archives.

Do you have images from past UMAC Conferences and/or other UMAC activities?

We are especially interested in images from the founding conference in Barcelona in 2001 .

More generally, if you have photos, manuscripts, drawings, ephemera or other materials that you think could be part of the UMAC archives, please get in touch with us!


Dominick Verschelde, UMAC 2009, Manchester (Photo A. Simpson).