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Exhibition kolonialokal – wir packen aus – Museum Oder-Spree | 13.04.-31.12.2024

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The Oder-Spree Museum is opening the exhibition “kolonialokal – wir packen aus” on April 13, 2024 at 3 pm in Beeskow Castle. The exhibition was created in cooperation with the weißensee academy of art berlin. It shows the museum’s ethnological collection for the first time and places the debate about Germany’s colonial past in a regional context.

Image above: kolonialokal – wir packen aus ©Armin Herrmann/Museum Oder-Spree

The Beeskow Museum was founded in 1906 to tell the story of the district of Beeskow-Storkow in Brandenburg. Today, however, the collection also includes objects from northern Europe, the South Pacific and Africa. Most of the artifacts come from Namibia, the former colony of “German Southwest Africa”. This raises questions: How did these objects end up in the Oder-Spree Museum in Beeskow? What do they have to do with big game hunting, the disappearance of Sorbian place names, a lost Australian explorer, denazification in a small town and the colonial goods stores in the villages? And how do we deal with it today when we discover objects like these in our collections?

It is usually easy to trace how the objects ended up in the museums. But how the donors came into possession of them and whether everything was above board usually remains unclear. Students at the weißensee school of art and design berlin researched the stories together with Prof. Steffen Schuhmann and, with the support of the Brandenburg Museum Association and ethnologist Dr. Kerstin Volker-Saad, developed a critical exhibition concept that illustrates how global distortions are reflected in local contexts. The exhibition not only shows what has been discovered so far about the origin of the artifacts and their journey to Beeskow, it also encourages visitors to engage with German colonial guilt and restitution issues in a regional and family context.

Steffen Schuhmann, Professor für Visuelle Kommunikation an der weißensee kunsthochschule berlin: „Wir sollten nicht warten, bis sich große ethnologische Sammlungen – wie die Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz – in Sachen Restitution bewegen. Auch in regionalen Museen finden sich Bestände aus kolonialen Kontexten, bei denen es lohnt, sich mit der Frage ihrer Herkunft und einer möglichen Rückgabe zu beschäftigen. Vielleicht ist es für kleine Museen sogar leichter, mutig und experimentierfreudig voranzugehen.“

Kristina Geisler, Museum Oder-Spree: “We hope to trigger a discourse on the consequences of colonialism, especially among young people. It therefore makes sense that young exhibition organizers are at work. Stefanie-Lahya Aukongo is involved in setting up the exhibition: her mother comes from Namibia and she herself was born in what was then East Berlin. The author will accompany the project at Beeskow Castle in a literary way and contribute her perspective.”


Opening: Saturday, 13. April 2024, 3 pm
Exhibition period: Saturday 13. April until Tuesday, 31. December 2024
Opening hours: Oct–March: Tu–Su 11 am to 5 pm
April–September Tu –Su: 10 am to 6 pm


Burg Beeskow
Frankfurter Straße 23
15848 Beeskow


Exhibitions rooms: 3,50 Euro
Guided tours: 4 Euro

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