Press Release: 6th International Provenance Research Day 2024. Researching origin in museums, libraries and archives

On the 10 April 2024, the international Provenance Research Day will take place for the sixth time. So far, more than 100 cultural institutions in Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and the USA have registered to take part (state of 2 April 2024).

This year, museums, libraries and other collection-keeping institutions are once again offering numerous online and face-to-face events. This globally unique event collaboration between researchers from a wide range of facilities and institutions reflects the long-standing successful efforts of the Arbeitskreis Provenienzforschung e.V. to achieve transparency and networking within a still young research community which aims to shed light on the origins of cultural objects (not only) in public institutions.

The wide range of programs currently offering almost 150 events is primarily dedicated to topics related to cultural assets confiscated as a result of Nazi persecution, cultural assets from colonial contexts and objects expropriated in the Soviet Zone/GDR, but also to the history of objects and collections in general.

You can find an overview and information about all activities surrounding Provenance Research Day 2024 on the website of the Arbeitskreis Provenienzforschung e.V.: If you have any questions regarding the program of individual participants, please contact the institution in question directly.

Just in time for this year’s Provenance Research Day, a cross-topic publication from the Arbeitskreis Provenienzforschung e.V. is also being published with a comprehensive chronicle of the association’s activities – available digitally in full text and can be ordered as print on demand

Since 2019, the action day has taken place once a year on the second Wednesday in April. It is of great importance for provenance research because it shows the social and scientific relevance of our work and at the same time gives a broad audience insights into the methods of a field of research that usually takes place behind the scenes of the areas of curatorial work that are visible to visitors.

In view of the Best Practices adopted this spring for the implementation of the Washington Principles of 1998, the questions surrounding a Germany-wide restitution law and the handling of controversial cases, the day points to the value of precisely that research work that must remain the basis for future – including political – decisions. The precarious employment situation of many provenance researchers remains alarming, especially given the political debates that focus on the object as a cultural heritage of remembrance.

The Arbeitskreis Provenienzforschung e.V. is an internationally active network of scientists and experts who have existed since 2000 and are involved in researching the origin and unlawful confiscation of cultural assets. The working group has been organized as a registered association since 2014. The central tasks include the technical support of provenance research in all its fields of activity and the promotion of interdisciplinary exchange. The working group now has over 500 members from Germany, France, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and the USA.

The day of action is coordinated by the Provenance Research Day working group:

Your contact for questions: