Institute of Historical and Cultural Anthropology

Authenticity as a Resource

Project term 

07/2017 - 06/2021

Scientific Assistant

Aikaterini Filippidou


Prof. Dr. Thomas Thiemeyer

The project Authenticity as a Resource focusses on processes of valorisation in museums. How are artefacts made valuable by museums? Which restoration and exposition techniques and strategies are implemented? And lastly, what role does authenticity play?

Authenticity is a multi-layered term:  it can denote the material originality as well as to immersion in history or in experiencing realistic simulations. Especially new media and augmented reality applications challenge our contemporary understanding of the term authenticity as a category of valorisation directly linked to curatorial practices.

The study focusses on the Museum of Antike Schiffahrt of the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum (RGZM) in Mainz, which exhibits full-size replicas of late Roman ships, ship models and new media applications such as mixed reality; thereby presenting mostly reconstructions. Concept and design of exhibition, mediation and the workshops for conservation, restoration and model construction of the RGZM, one of the eldest archaeological research museums, are also analyzed. In order to understand the ways in which the museum creates value in its objects, qualitative social research methods such as interviewing, participatory observation and archive work are utilized within this study.