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Mundaneum, Mons

4.1
#4 of 13 in Museums in Mons
The Mundaneum is a non profit organisation based in Mons, Belgium that runs an exhibition space, website and archive which celebrate the legacy of the original Mundaneum established by Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine in the early twentieth century.
The Mundaneum was created in 1910, following an initiative begun in 1895 by Belgian lawyers Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine, as part of their work on documentation science. Otlet first called it the Palais Mondial, meaning "world palace" in English, and it occupied the left wing of the Palais du Cinquantenaire, a government building in Brussels. It aimed to gather together all the world's knowledge and classify it according to a system they developed called the Universal Decimal Classification. Otlet and La Fontaine organized an International Conference of International Associations which was the origin of the Union of International Associations (UIA).
The Mundaneum has been identified as a milestone in the history of data collection and management, and (somewhat more tenuously) as a precursor to the internet.
Otlet regarded the project as the centrepiece of a new 'world city'—a centrepiece which eventually became an archive with more than 12 million index cards and documents. Some consider it a forerunner of the Internet (or, perhaps more appropriately, of systematic knowledge projects such as Wikipedia and WolframAlpha) and Otlet himself had dreams that one day, somehow, all the information he collected could be accessed by people from the comfort of their own homes.
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Mundaneum Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
60 reviews
Google
4.2
TripAdvisor
  • Although there is absolute mission amount that can be done to present an enormous card index, the small atmospheric museum is a generally good job, although I could’ve done with more displays and...  more »
  • If you're curious how the great minds of the past used to find their information, long before the internet, this is the place to go. Take an audio guide for a better tour of the place.  more »
Google
  • Just down the street from the Grand-Place is the Mundaneum museum. It documents how a group of researchers wanted to keep a record of all written knowledge... by writing out library card catalog entries for each book! A reminder of times before Google was available!
  • Superb place.
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