Brussels to open a new museum dedicated entirely to the extensive wardrobe of its beloved Manneken Pis statue. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Just around the corner from Belgium's famous Manneken Pis statue, a new museum dedicated to its extensive wardrobe of more than 950 costumes will open in Brussels on Saturday (February 4). The Garde Robe Manneken Pis museum will display a collection of around 130 costumes. Among them, the costume of a Welsh guard gifted to the statue in 1945, and a replica of its oldest original outfit, which was offered by King Louis XV in 1747 as an apology after his French soldiers tried to steal the statue. There are soccer jerseys, a Santa Claus attire, and a joker's suit among countless others. "The people get to know much more about the history of Manneken Pis, that's a very extraordinary history and a long time history and also here with the costumes it's to learn more about the history of this tradition. Because the tradition to dressing Manneken Pis up started in the beginning of the 17th century. So it's a very old phenomenon that we are explaining here," said historian Gonzague Pluvinage, who is a curator for Brussels museums. Visitors can see the costumes that are not in the museum on a virtual display. The original statue made in 1619 sits in the City Museum, where the clothes used to be stored. The City Museum will have a new exhibition focusing on the Manneken Pis' history. There are strict rules about what the little boy can wear. For one, his outfits cannot be political or religious, and cannot be used for commercial purposes. Manneken Pis is dressed 130 days in the year, and receives about 15-20 new donated costumes. "It reflects Brussels because first it's the wardrobe of the oldest resident in Brussels, Manneken Pis, and after that it's the diversity of the costumes. Many many countries in the world gave Manneken Pis a costume, so through all those typical and traditional national costumes, it's practically every resident in Brussels, Belgian or non-Belgian, can feel himself being part of the collectivity. And this is typical Brussels. A big city, big collectivity with many strangers living in Brussels," Pluvinage said. The museum, which expects 60,000 visitors in the coming year, also features stations where guests can try to dress a Manneken Pis replica.