Technisches Kulturgut: Händler, Museen, Sammlungen, Conference, Deutsches Optisches Museum Thüringen, 30-31 March 2023

Events and Conferences
International Conferences

Provenance research in museums on unlawfully seized cultural property is in the process of becoming more and more differentiated. One of the most recent topics is provenance research on technical cultural property, which has only begun to establish itself in recent years. Technical cultural property includes machines, tools, precision instruments and vehicles, but also accessories to technical objects (e.g. instruction books, Laterna-Magica pictures) and other objects directly related to them.

To a much greater extent than with regard to works of fine art, which have been described and catalogued by experts, art critics and art historians over many decades, provenance research on technical cultural property is concerned with revealing the insider knowledge and the diverse connections of museums, experts, private collectors and dealers. This is the only way to gain further insights into the victims and beneficiaries of the seizure of technical cultural property.

The March 30-31, 2023 conference "Technical Cultural Property. Dealers, Museums, Collections" will help fill research gaps. The aim of the event is to discuss methodological approaches and previous results of provenance research on technical cultural property and to pursue questions about the origin and circulation of corresponding objects. Particular attention will be paid to the confiscation of technical cultural property during the Nazi era. However, other contexts of injustice, such as European colonialism and its effects, confiscation of cultural property in the SBZ/DDR, and current cases of cultural property theft will also be considered.
Suggestions for possible topics and aspects would be:

- Acquisition policy of selected museums/collections
- Biographies and networks of dealers and private collectors of technical cultural goods
- Research results on colonial contexts of injustice, Nazi looted property, seizure and sales in the SBZ/DDR, as well as new approaches to current contexts of seizure (e.g. the invasion of Ukraine).

Speakers will each have 20 minutes of speaking time and 10 minutes of discussion time. The workshop will be planned as a hybrid event.

The contributions to the workshop will subsequently be published as an anthology in our "Technical Cultural Property" series, the first volume of which was published in May 2022:
We look forward to receiving your synopses (maximum one A4 page) and ask you to send them to us by email by February 17, 2023.
Dr. Sören Groß, e-mail:
Dr. des. Ron Hellfritzsch, e-mail:


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