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Ethnographic Museum

"Digital Repatriation"

An explorative matter of research at the Ethnographic Museum at the University of Zurich


„Crafting Beauty and Layering the World“ and the virtual extension of an exhibition

Ethnographic museums are housing collections that are relevant to people beyond the reach of an exhibition. People from the regions of origin are often among the international communities interested in such collections. The possibilities of sharing pictures, if not whole exhibitions in digital format emerges only gradually in the current debate about repatriation and the prerogative of interpretation as well as narratives and participation in museums.

The Ethnographic Museum at the University of Zurich has just started exploring digital possibilities of sharing cultural heritage – e.g. digital repatriation.

In a first project, a 360° documentation of the exhibition "Mola – Crafting Beauty and Layering the World in Panama" is presented to the public in Switzerland, in Panama and on an international level. The exhibition was on show from 27 November 2015 to 13 November 2016. It counted more than 5000 visitors.

The 360° documentation was modeled on behalf of the EMZ with the aim of encouraging academic and public exchange. In particular, its digital format transcends geographic and spatial boundaries.

We look forward to your suggestions, comments, and feedbacks and we will keep the public informed about future developments of this project.

In the next project, an exhibition that will be developed together with a partner museum in Suriname is planned to be shared digitally.


  • Director: Prof. Dr. Mareile Flitsch (
  • Production: Dr. Maike Powroznik (curator of the exhibition, together with Dr. Klaus Powroznik (
  • Photography and programming: Dr. Klaus Powroznik ( and Peter Volk (
  • Illustration above: Daniel Müller (
  • Guest curators: Dr. Paolo Fortis and Dr. Margherita Margiotti (see also the detailed exhibition imprint within the 360° documentation)