Provenance Research

Where do the objects in our collections come from?

Since 2010 the 3Landesmuseen Braunschweig have been proactively, systematically and continuously researching the provenance of the objects in their collections. Provenance research is an integral part of modern museum and collection activity. Provenance research in Germany is based on the Washington Principles passed in 1998 and the subsequent Common Statement of 1999. The basis of the implementation of the Washington Principles and the Common Statement are guidelines issued by the Federal Government, the States and national associations of local authorities.

The central task of provenance research is the examination of museum collections for “looted art” – to be more precise for cultural assets that were appropriated as a result of persecution. This refers to cultural assets seized by the Nazis (Nazi confiscated art), cultural assets and objects appropriated from colonial contexts as well as the looting of cultural assets in the Soviet Occupation Zone and the GDR.

So far there have been four provenance research projects at the 3Landesmuseen:

  • 3Landesmuseen-project funded by the State of Lower Saxony:
  • 2019/2022 Joint project of the Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum, Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, Staatliches Naturhistorisches Museum Braunschweig

Building on the previous projects, the current provenance research project of the 3Landesmuseen Braunschweig focuses on acquisitions since 1945, on acquisitions from art dealers and collections, on Judaica, on colonial contexts – above all with regard to human remains – as well as on collection history and contextual research, particularly in connection with the Brunswick collectors Otto Ralfs, Galka Emmy Scheyer, Erich Scheyer, Karl Steinacker and the Society of the Friends of Young Art.

The 3Landesmuseen Braunschweig are regionally connected through their membership in the Netzwerk Provenienzforschung in Niedersachsen (German link). The international and national link is guaranteed by the membership of the project leader in the Research Association for Provenance Research.


Dr. Hansjörg Pötzsch

Project "Provenance Research"

Phone +49 531 1225 - 1240

3Landesmuseen Braunschweig
Friedrich-Wilhelm-Str. 3
38100 Braunschweig