The German/American Provenance Research Exchange Program for Museum Professionals (PREP), Washington DC, 21-26 October 2019

Events and Conferences

Public Program 25 October 2019 5pm-7pm

This panel discussion will reflect on the historical development of Holocaust-era provenance research in museums and research institutions over the past 20 years, from challenging beginnings to present-day accomplishments. German and American experts will compare and contrast approaches to this work; consider how access to research resources and to provenance online have been supported and sustained in our institutions; and explore the vital role of transnational exchange. More broadly, they will discuss the civic role museums play, and how historical, political, and legal contexts impact this work.

Speakers include:

Sharon Cott, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Gero Dimter, Vice President, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin

Stuart Eizenstat, Expert Advisor for Holocaust Issues, US Department of State

Christian Fuhrmeister, Research Department, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich

Richard Kurin, Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large, Smithsonian Institution

Simone Lässig, Director, German Historical Institute, Washington, DC

Anne Helmreich, Associate Director, Digital Initiatives, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles

Lynn Nicholas, author of The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War

Laurie Stein, Senior Advisor, PREP, Smithsonian Institution

To attend, see pdf here

Panel Discussion:  Saturday 26 October 10.30am-1.30pm: Object Lessons: German and American Perspectives on Provenance Research of the Colonial and Nazi Eras

Provenance researchers face many challenges in tracing the ownership history of art works and cultural objects, especially those with a centuries-long history. The media have focused public attention on provenance research and restitution debates concerning objects, especially paintings, that were looted during the Nazi era. What can provenance researchers of Nazi-era looted objects learn from those who study collections acquired under colonial rule, and vice versa? How do methodologies and challenges of museum professionals and researchers dealing with colonial period- and Nazi-era collections overlap? What new insights can we gain from the study of the provenance of objects of all categories, and how might these be applied to advancing scholarly discourse, public debates, and solutions regarding Nazi-era and colonial objects?


Irene Bald Romano, Professor of Art History, School of Art, and Professor of Anthropology, School of Anthropology, University of Arizona, and 2018 PREP participant


Mirjam Brusius, Research Fellow in Colonial and Global History, German Historical Institute London

Raphael Gross, President of the Foundation, Deutsches Historisches Museum (German History Museum), Berlin

Christine Mullen Kreamer, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution

H. Glenn Penny, Professor of Modern European History, University of Iowa, and GHI Advisory Board Member
Hilke Thode-Arora, Head of Department, Oceania, and Provenance Research Liaison Officer, Museum Fünf Kontinente (Five Continents Museum), Munich, and 2018 PREP guest speaker

To attend, see pdf here.

The PREP website at has further details as well as articles from different participants in the workshops.


Original Text


The German/American Provenance Research Exchange Program for Museum Professionals (PREP), 2017-2019

Program Description

The German/American Provenance Research Exchange Program (PREP) brings together, for the first time, museum professionals from both sides of the Atlantic who specialize in World War II-era provenance projects for a three-year, systematic exchange. The program expands and elaborates on the methods and practices with which both countries have thus far approached the issues pertaining to Holocaust-era art looting. PREP is also widening the scope of WWII-era provenance research, which to date has given priority to painting, sculpture, and Judaica, by including Asian art, decorative arts, and works on paper.

The primary goal of the program is to create an exchange network of German and American art mu- seum professionals, and of experts in research institutions that support museum work. The partici- pants will include museum curators and provenance researchers, archivists, lawyers, and specialists in information technology and digital humanities, who act as multipliers by facilitating, supporting, and relaying provenance research. Graduate students engaged in WWII-era provenance research rele- vant to museum collections are also invited to apply for the program.

PREP provides a forum for professional growth and networking; it introduces the participants to available resources and local experts at institutions in both countries and enables specialists to share their areas of expertise. The purpose of these exchanges is to explore research topics, resources, methodologies, and technologies that all participants can learn from so that, as leaders in their field, they can, in turn, generate new joint projects and mentor the next generation of museum professio- nals. PREP also explores the development of shared technology platforms. At the conclusion of its three-year program, PREP will publish an online resource for World War II-era German and Ameri- can provenance research to expedite research on art losses in the National Socialist era.

PREP’s co-organizers—the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., and the Zentralarchiv der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Central Archives of the National Museums in Berlin, Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, SPK)—are joined by four partner instituti- ons: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles; the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden; and the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich. The Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste, Magdeburg, is a consultative participant in the program. For more information about project leadership see below.

In their respective cities, these partners will host a total of six Exchanges: New York – Berlin in 2017; Los Angeles – Munich in 2018; and Dresden – Washington, D.C. in 2019. Each PREP Exchange will feature tours of local institutions important to WWII-era provenance research, workshops and collo- quia, and each will include an educational program open to the public. PREP will inform and enhance the way provenance research is conducted and conveyed in German and American museums, to benefit the field as a whole.

Major support for PREP comes from the German Program for Transatlantic Encounters, financed from European Recovery Program funds provided by the late Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi). This program continues to promote the ideas of George C. Marshall, who advo- cated support of transatlantic partnerships to foster mutual understanding. Additional financial sup- port comes from Germany’s Federal Commission for Culture and Media (BKM), the Smithsonian Women’s Committee, and the program’s six key partners.

2019 Call for Applications

 The organizing and partnering institutions of the Provenance Research Exchange Program (PREP) for Museum Professionals are pleased to announce the third year of this international, interdisciplina- ry exchange program for museum professionals who specialize in World War II-era provenance re- search of art collections.

Over the three–year period 2017-2019, PREP funds two week-long Exchanges a year for 21 partici- pants (10 from the U.S. and 11 from Germany). A separate application process will take place each year. In each application cycle, the Steering Committee (see below) will select participants from U.S. and German institutions, whose varied expertise and interests will be reflected in the program.

PREP welcomes applications from all art museum professionals engaged in, or committed to, World War II-era provenance projects at their institutions, as well as employees of educational and scholarly institutions that directly support such research. (See the U.S. application criteria and the German application criteria below).

In 2019, PREP will be hosted by the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen in Dresden (March 17-22, 2019) and by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. (October 21-26 2019). Travel, lodging, and meals will be covered (within pre-set limits) for all 21 PREP participants for the two programs in both cities. Participants may extend their stay to conduct research at their own expense.

The 2019 PREP application can be accessed after logging into the Smithsonian's Online Ap- plication Platform, SOLAA ( The application is listed under the "Office of the Undersecretary for History, Art and Culture." The application is called "German American Prove- nance Research Exchange Program (PREP)."

All applications must be submitted by Friday, September 28, 2018. Applicants will be notified of their status by Friday, November 16, 2018.

For questions about the German/American Provenance Research Exchange Program or the applica- tion process, please contact or

For more information: am-zentralarchiv/deutsch-amerikanisches-austauschprogramm-zur-provenienzforschung-fuer- museen-prep-2017-2019.html


Selection Criteria for Applicants from U.S. Institutions

Museum Professionals:


Provenance Researchers:

Other Specializations (e.g., Archivists, Collections Managers, Registrars, Lawyers, and Digi- tal Humanities Specialists):

MA or PhD Students or Post-Graduate Researchers:

U.S. museum collection



Co-Chairs / Vorsitz

Richard Kurin, Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large, Acting Director of the Freer|Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Hermann Parzinger, Präsident der Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation), Berlin

Co-Organizers / Organisatoren

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Zentralarchiv der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin (Central Archives of the National Museums), Stif- tung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation), Berlin

Steering Committee / Steuerungsausschuss

Christel H. Force, Associate Research Curator, Modern and Contemporary, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Christian Fuhrmeister, Forschungsabteilung (Research Department), Zentralinstitut für Kunst- geschichte, München

Uwe Hartmann, Leiter des Fachbereichs Provenienzforschung (Head of the Provenance Research Department), Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste (German Lost Art Foundation), Magdeburg Claudia Einecke, Project Director, German Sales II, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles

Gilbert Lupfer, Leiter Forschung und wissenschaftliche Kooperation (Head of Research and Scientific Cooperation), Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections)

Jane Milosch, Director, Provenance Research Exchange Program, Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initi- ative, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Laurie A. Stein, Senior Provenance Advisor, Provenance Research Exchange Program, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Carola Thielecke, Justiziarin (Counsel), Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin

Petra Winter, Leiterin des Zentralarchivs der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin (Director, Central Archi- ves of the National Museums in Berlin), Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin


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