Tracking the Past

The History of a museum

How did the exhibits from all around the world get here? Where they collected, bought, stolen, gifted or exchanged? And what role did the museum staff as collectors and clients, the shipping companies, merchants, missionaries or ethnographic and natural produce dealers play?

This new exhibition is a critical reflection on the history of the Übersee-Museum. The acquisition of the collection and the forms of presentation of the first 100 museum years are discussed as well as the latest results of the museum’s own provenance research on the colonial and Nazi era. In addition, there is a reunion with some of the public’s favorites, such as the skeleton of a dinosaur, the general store or a island hut from the south sea.

In the exhibition, visitors were asked to share their personal memories of the Übersee-Museum. Here we share these memories with you:

Memories of the Übersee-Museum (in German)

Media station: Questions for a museum

Anyone who wants to know why collections are still being made today, how provenance research is carried out or what defines the work of curators will find what they are looking for in the exhibition. Museum staff will talk about their work in a media station.

To the online-application “Questions to a museum” (in German)

Mediaguide

A free media guide is available for this exhibition. You can use it during your visit in our free WiFi in the museum or simply online:

To the online mediaguide

A media guide for children is also available online and in the exhibition:

To the online media guide (children’s version – in German)
Glass showcase with helmet, shield and metal weapon, right next to it a board with exhibition texts
Provenance research: where do exhibits like this come from? | CC BY-SA 4.0 Übersee-Museum Bremen, photo: Volker Beinhorn
Figure made of metal carrying a golden ball and view of the exhibition on display cases

Atlas figure of North German Lloyd in the entrance area of the exhibition | CC BY-SA 4.0 Übersee-Museum Bremen, photo: Volker Beinhorn

Figure with collar of straw, horns

Origin becomes visible: African mask from the collection of the former Lüderitz Museum | CC BY-SA 4.0 Übersee-Museum Bremen, photo: Volker Beinhorn

Prepared deer with fawn in a diorama, in front of it two people

"Ideal world" and local history: deer diorama from the 1950s | CC BY-SA 4.0 Übersee-Museum Bremen, photo: Volker Beinhorn

Indian figure and other showcases

Indian couple: controversial exhibits reclassified | CC BY-SA 4.0 Übersee-Museum Bremen, photo: Volker Beinhorn

Prepared black swan in front of painted lake landscape

From the history of exhibition making: life-like representation in the diorama | CC BY-SA 4.0 Übersee-Museum Bremen, photo: Volker Beinhorn

Yellow room with people at a listening station, swan diorama and posters.

Exhibition area on the upheavals and changes of the 1970s and 1980s | CC BY-SA 4.0 Übersee-Museum Bremen, photo: Volker Beinhorn

Exhibition area with a merchant's store, a dinosaur skeleton and a South Sea house.

Exhibition memory room | CC BY-SA 4.0 Übersee-Museum Bremen, photo: Volker Beinhorn

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