5 Questions on the Collections

Workspace Series

What do we want to know? What did we used to want to know in the past – and what did we ignore? What information has been recorded, what has been lost; where are the blind spots; which gaps in knowledge have appeared? Where do we currently stand with the collections; what is the focus of our work today?

We ask these and further questions in our new work space series. We think of the museum as an open work space, a space for collaborative exploration and research. Along with an exhibition series, we offer insights into our work. The exhibition “Honeymoon?” kicks off the series.

Objects collection Paasche
Objects from Ellen and Hans Paasche's collection. Photo: Kathrin Leuenberger, 2022.

Honeymoon? 5 Questions on the ‘Hans Paasche Collection’ from East Africa

22 May 2022 to 21 January 2024

To the source of the Nile with 60 porters: this is how Hans and Ellen Paasche travel through the East African Great Lakes Region in 1909/1910. They bring back hundreds of objects from their honeymoon. For Hans Paasche it is not his first time in East Africa. A few years earlier, as a German naval officer, he was involved in the fight against insurgents in the colony of German East Africa. Already during that time he collected objects. The Paasches’ collection came to Zurich in 1922.

While much is known about the Paasches' biography and views, not least through Hans Paasche's publications, we know almost nothing about the exact origin of the objects and the people to whom they once belonged. How did Hans and Ellen Paasche meet these people? Which objects come from their honeymoon, which ones did Hans Paasche collect as a colonial soldier? And what significance do the objects have today for the descendants of their creators? The workshop exhibition provides insights into current research between ethnology, provenance research and collaboration with experts from the region of origin.