Belgian colonial museum takes new look at troubled history

A stuffed elephant on display in the halls of the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Thursday, July 12, 2018. The museum is reopening on Saturday Dec

A stuffed elephant on display in the halls of the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Thursday, July 12, 2018. The museum is reopening on Saturday Dec

Museum director Guido Gryseels, left, looks out from the new visitor center onto the original Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018

Museum director Guido Gryseels, left, looks out from the new visitor center onto the original Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018

A wooden canoe, carved out of one piece of wood, in the main underground hallway leading to the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Friday, Aug. 3, 20

A wooden canoe, carved out of one piece of wood, in the main underground hallway leading to the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Friday, Aug. 3, 20

NATO first ladies pose for a photo outside of the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Thursday, July 12, 2018. The museum is reopening on Saturday Dec

NATO first ladies pose for a photo outside of the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Thursday, July 12, 2018. The museum is reopening on Saturday Dec

A sculpture with the inscription underneath 'Belgium offers civilization to Congo' in the main atrium of the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Frida

A sculpture with the inscription underneath 'Belgium offers civilization to Congo' in the main atrium of the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Frida

Museum Director Guido Gryseels poses in front of a stuffed elephant at the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. The museum is reo

Museum Director Guido Gryseels poses in front of a stuffed elephant at the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. The museum is reo

A wooden sculpture, right, by Congolese-born artist Aime Mpane Enkobo in the main atrium of the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Thursday, July 12,

A wooden sculpture, right, by Congolese-born artist Aime Mpane Enkobo in the main atrium of the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Thursday, July 12,

Busts on display at the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. The museum is reopening on Saturday Dec. 8, 2018, after more than 10

Busts on display at the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. The museum is reopening on Saturday Dec. 8, 2018, after more than 10

A sculpture called the 'Leopard Man', second left, is stored with others in a cavernous room at the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Friday, Aug. 3

A sculpture called the 'Leopard Man', second left, is stored with others in a cavernous room at the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Friday, Aug. 3

Museum Director Guido Gryseels, right, walks by a stuffed giraffe at the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. The museum is reope

Museum Director Guido Gryseels, right, walks by a stuffed giraffe at the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. The museum is reope

African statues are stored in a cavernous room at the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. The museum is reopening on Saturday De

African statues are stored in a cavernous room at the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Belgium, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. The museum is reopening on Saturday De

TERVUREN, Belgium (AP) — For decades, Belgian schoolchildren had come to the Africa Museum near Brussels to marvel at the stuffed animals, ritual masks and minerals that glowed in the darkness of vast cellars. Old colonialists came to remember their glorious past.

Hidden out of sight was the dark side of colonialism in Belgian Congo — the killings, the sepia photos of Congolese whose hands were hacked off purely out of petty retribution.

Not anymore. The palatial museum, long called the last colonial museum in the world, is reopening on Saturday after more than 10 years spent revamping the building and overhauling its dated, one-sided approach to history.

With the museum's reopening, "we provide the critical view of the colonial past," director Guido Gryseels said. "We try to provide the Africa view of colonization."