Back in 2003, the decision was taken to build a new school complex on the existing structures next to the Kluuster. Hence, a new exhibition room needed to be found for the objects from the Museum of Roman mosaics that had been set up in the basement of the old school. As already the name of the museum suggests, the main objective was to create a new accommodation for the Roman mosaics. To solve this issue, the council decided to purchase two houses in the city center. Their location was excellent: next to the gallery, opposite to the old Church of St. Lawrence and its crypt.
However, after expertise, both houses were revealed ruinous. This implicated a total revision of the original plans that has led to the decision to build a completely new building.
Consequently, the concept had to be reconsidered: Originally, the focus was exclusively on the three Roman mosaics. A professional team was formed whose mission it has been to work out a museological and museographical concept for the new exhibition. Very quickly, the team noticed a lack of space: Indeed, to tell the dense history of the city, it would not be enough to do this mere by roman mosaics. Therefore, only one of the mosaics should be presented as a high-light of the exhibition. The choice was fairly simple, as two of the mosaics could be excluded: The so-called “lion mosaic” (that was missing the entire front part of the main subject) and the “apsis mosaic” (that wasn’t property of the municipality). Thus, the mosaic with a reversible head motif remained and it has become one of the showpieces in the museum. Today, all three mosaics belong to the National Museum of History and Art (MNHA), whose team also did the restoration work.
This “emptying” finally made it possible to present a completer view on the local history. This is rather meaningful as Diekirch has a very rich history: it is possible – sometimes with precision, sometimes with some reservation due to poverty of resources – to retrace the area’s development from early prehistory to present times. In each one of the five exhibition rooms, the visitor can now discover several topics of local and regional interest that have been put in a national context.
As already mentioned, the location of the museum is very beneficial. First, it gives the visitor a rather unusual view of the southern facade of the old St. Lawrence Church and, under ground, in its medieval crypt. Secondly, with the immediate access to the gallery, the museal space can be expanded for the use of temporary exhibitions and workshops in addition to the permanent exhibition.