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Between knowledge and authenticity

Find this session's presentations here.

This session will include presentations on the use of (non-) authentic objects and of (digital) knowledge in exhibitions that will contribute to discussing what might be ‘authentic knowledge’ regarding museums.

While the importance of digital life grows in society, presenting authentic objects in museums is still valued. The first case presents the visitor experience of a medieval vessel, the ‘Bremen cog‘, showing how important visitors perceive ‘real’ objects, even in a reduced size exhibition. In the second case, the exhibition "Planet Life" in Barcelona displays more than 4,000 natural history specimens in cases, but also offers 48 specimens or models that can be touched accompanied by information in interactive moving screens, analogue text and in Braille. Our third museum, the Neanderthal Museum, is successfully using authentic information at the authentic site, but no original physical objects.

These specific experiences will lead to a more general discussion on what the term ‘authenticity’ might mean when it comes to knowledge and what kind of responsibility museums have in this regard.


Academic Coordinator, Leibniz Research Alliance Historical Authenticity
Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam - Leibniz Research Alliance Historical Authenticity

Session speakers

Deputy Director
Ursula Warnke will be presenting insights on authentic objects in the museum and the visitors' perceptions of their value.