Symbolic image inventory list with magnifying glass
Colonial contexts

Stade museums publish wiki of their provenance research project

The Stade museums have published a wiki on the Karl Braun Collection and the Amani Institute in Tanzania.

Together with their cooperation partners at the National Institute for Medical Research in Tanzania, the Stade museums have developed a wiki for their ongoing provenance research project. In it they provide insights into the project Die Sammlung Karl Braun und die Rolle des Amani Instituts während der deutschen Kolonialzeit in Tansania (“The Karl Braun Collection and the Role of the Amani Institute during the German Colonial Period in Tanzania”), which is funded by the German Lost Art Foundation, in which they collate a range of different research findings. The wiki includes entries on Karl Braun’s collection, the Amani Institute, individuals, biographies and archival holdings. The platform has gone online as a “work in progress” with the aim of creating the greatest possible transparency, as well as stimulating and incorporating external input.

As a senior botanist at the Amani Institute (1904-1920) in Tanzania, Karl Braun acquired a collection of some 600 objects which are now held by the Stade museums. The Kaiserliche Biologisch-landwirtschaftliche Amani Institut (“Imperial Biological and Agricultural Amani Institute”) was founded in 1902 by the Imperial Colonial Office in the Usambara Mountains and exists to this day as a botanical garden. The aim was to establish the largest botanical garden in the world and in doing so also to assert the economic interests of the German Empire. The current project aims to explore the stories behind the objects in Braun’s collection, their potentially violent acquisition contexts and the colonial history of the Amani Institute.

In publishing the wiki, the participants point out that the source material they are working with reflects colonial ideologies, and they deliberately refrain from including source material that shows colonial violence. The team notes the challenges involved in research: for example, written sources mainly comprise documentation by Europeans or colonial actors. They also draw attention to the terminology of the colonial era, pointing out historical, discriminatory terms and explaining these where necessary, while at the same time making deliberate use of alternative, non-discriminatory descriptions.

The wiki is to be found here:
To find out more about the research project, see: or the projectfinder on this website.