The housing of the collection of antiquities in Leiden has a troubled history, in which Caspar Jacob Christiaan Reuvens, the university trustees, the Ministry of the Interior and the king of the Netherlands were involved. Reuvens had the ideal of a national museum, with an adequate and worthy building. Long before the plans for such a building came into being he had begun collecting zealously, with finances from the government and the approval of the king. Conservation and management of the ‘archaeological cabinet’ were the task of the trustees, but its development into a large, money-consuming institution was not the intention of the university. The sculptures of the Papenbroek collection were still in the orangery of the botanical gardens when Reuvens was appointed in 1818. Climatological conditions in this damp building were far from ideal for the sculptures and their restorations held together by rusting iron.