Expeditions

The world in a suitcase

29 June 2012 - 10 April 2016

Between the end of the nineteenth and the mid-twentieth century explorers from Basel went on numerous expeditions, laying the foundation for the city’s extensive ethnographic collections. The exhibition traces the history of these expeditions.

Between the end of the nineteenth and the mid-twentieth century explorers from Basel conducted numerous expeditions, laying the foundation for the city’s extensive ethnographic collections. In the exhibition Expeditions. The World in a Suitcase the Museum der Kulturen Basel traces this history by describing four expeditions in detail, explaining the explorers’ motives and showing what they brought home with them in terms of collections and knowledge.

Measuring, salvaging, comparing, taking pictures
The visitors are taken along on a series of journeys: to Sri Lanka (Ceylon, 1883–1925) with Paul and Fritz Sarasin; to Vanuatu (New Hebrides, 1910–1912) with Felix Speiser; to Indonesia and East Timor (1935) with Alfred Bühler; and to Cameroon (1953) with Paul Hinderling and René Gardi.

Basis of world-famous collections
The exhibition presents roughly 540 objects, photographs as well as film and sound recordings, providing insight into the diversity of the Basel collections. The show is accompanied by a rich supporting programme that addresses issues concerning anthropology today and in the past.