Stories of People, Things and Places

in Japanisches Palais

dunkler Raum mit angeleuchteten Objekten in Vitrinen


The history of ethnological museums is ambivalent due to the colonial past it is embedded in and requires critical reflection. This spawns a responsibility I want to face. Empathy is an essential engine when dealing with collection inventory. Talking with and not about communities of origin is an important premise so that we as museum staff turn into learners and consider ourselves participants of this process, as part of a community of implication. We see the Japanisches Palais as a place where we can reinvent and rethink the museum together again and again – a platform for restoring our relationships, where we test new exhibition formats and create a free space that also largely includes the civil society.

Heidelberger Statement

In accordance with the Annual Conference of Directors of Ethnographic Museums in the German speaking context 2019 the following official statement was published in Heidelberg on 6 May 2019.

Heidelberg Statement

Press Statement Benin Dialogue Group 2019

Founded in Vienna in 2010 the Benin Dialogue Group (BDG) brings together state and regional representatives of cultural politics, museum representatives and representatives of the Royal Court of Benin City/Nigeria and European curators for African collections from Vienna, Berlin, Dresden/Leipzig, London, Leiden, Stockholm, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Oxford and Cambridge. Those European collections house important objects and private collections from historic Benin Kingdom in current day Nigeria. Informally speaking, all members of the BDG jointly aim to create a friendly and trustful environment. Some of the objectives proclaimed from the beginning are opening the collections, the digitalisation of collections and academic exchange. A digital inventory of Benin objects being kept in the museums of the world will be put up in order to maintain cooperative projects and exchange, but also to facilitate resititution of objects to Benin City where they will be added to a newly planned museal centre in 2021/22.

Press Statement  Benin Dialogue Group 2019

The Damascus Room

A jewel from the historic Old City of Damascus is being kept in Dresden - and could contribute to changing our perception of the Orient and Syria. The Damascus Room consists of a wooden wall and ceiling paneling that is elaborately embellished with metal leafed and painted decoration and once adorned the reception room for guests in a noble residence in Damascus. 

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History of the exhibition

The museum traces its origins to the Kunstkammer founded by August I, Elector of Saxony, in 1560. The nearly 100,000 objects held by the Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden come from the most diverse regions of the five continents of the world. 

About the history of the collection

Figur zielt mit einem Gewehr
© SKD, Foto: Mo Zaboli

From our Online Collection

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