New Presentation in the Humboldt Forum

The exhibitions by the Ethnologisches Museum (Ethnological Museum) and the Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Asian Art Museum) in the Humboldt Forum will incorporate multiple perspectives. The topic of colonial injustice will also be addressed.

Visualisierung des neuen Teehauses mit Besuchern

Visualization of the new tea house designed by Jun Ura for the third floor of the Humboldt Forum. © SHF / URA Architects & Engineers

The presentation of the non-European collections in the Humboldt Forum challenges old hierarchies of interpretation. A key aspect of this is the inclusion of experts from the countries of origin and representatives of the societies of origin. There are numerous projects and partnerships facilitating close cooperation with museums in the countries of origin. The Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) has laid down the framework for these in its own general policy for managing non-European objects.

At various places in the Humboldt Forum, moreover, visitors will be reminded of the injustices committed during the colonial era. These problematic historical circumstances can be illustrated with the help of objects in the collection.

Possible ways of incorporating such aspects in presentations have already been explored and tested in trial runs by the Humboldt Lab in Dahlem. The Object Biographies exhibition (Probebühne 6 / 2015), for example, featured selected objects from the African collection with the histories of their acquisition, collection, and presentation. The [Open] Secrets project (Probebühne 4 / 2014-2015) discussed the question of whether ethnological museums should exhibit sacred objects and, if so, in what form.

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