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Fake For Real Touring Exhibition


House of European History exhibition hits the road: Fake for Real. A History of Forgery and Falsification

The Ancient Greeks, the myth goes, used a wooden horse to deceive their enemies and breach the walls of Troy. Throughout the centuries – in war, politics, the economy and other spheres of human activity – forgery and deceit were used to advance their creators’ goals. Fake for Real: A History of Forgery and Falsification, is an exhibition that explored these themes for more than a year at the House of European History, its Brussels base. Now, it is about to go on tour.



The exhibition presents falsifications throughout history. It describes the specific historical circumstances that explain their appearance, the interests and motives behind them and the impact they had. It also demonstrates how they were ultimately exposed. Set chronologically across six big themes, Fake for Real displays more than 50 artefacts from the House of European History collection. It also includes films and interactive games.


What is displayed?

Each case study tells a story of falsification and deceit: from the alleged Donation of Constantine, manipulated biographies of medieval Christian saints, to forged works of art and counterfeit consumer goods. The exhibition presents a wide range of different objects, art works, images, and historically important documents, maps featuring imaginary territories, treatises on witchcraft and false evidence used to accuse a French artillery officer of espionage – the story that went down in history as the Dreyfus Affair. The final section of the exhibition, titled ‘Era of Post Truth?’ is an interactive space with games and videos, where visitors can become fact-checkers, decide on what gets published or censored and play around with an innovative ‘filter bubble’ to explore how social media work. The exhibition ends with the current ‘infodemic’ around the Covid-19, examining the disinformation on the pandemic. All exhibits demonstrate something poignant and unique about how we want to understand the world or deliberately misrepresent it.


Visitor experience

The exhibition encourages the visitors to reflect on how falsehoods are told and fakes created and for what purpose. It also explains that thanks to critical approach, science or simple curiosity these falsehoods are, in the end, debunked. Fake for Real, offers insight into different meanings assigned to truth, fakery and proof throughout the ages.

The motives, strategies and tools deceivers and forgers use, emerge from specific political and social circumstances. Nevertheless, the human predisposition to believe in fakes, as well as the objectives behind deceiving others, seem to be universal. Thus, promoting media literacy, strengthening critical thinking through historical examples and providing the visitors with hints on how to tackle disinformation in this time and age are the key goals of the exhibition.


Who we are

The House of European History opened in May 2017 in the European quarter of Brussels. Its permanent exhibition galleries immerse visitors in the history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the evolution of European integration. The museum takes a trans-European viewpoint that explores the continent’s diversity and the variety of interpretations of its history. Find out more about us and about the Fake for Real exhibition in Brussels.



Practical Information

Type of exhibition: Turn-key narrative touring exhibition with museum objects, interactives and multimedia
Type of the host institution: Museums or centres with museum functions and libraries

Minimal Conditions to be fulfilled by the host institution:
• English speaking local partner
• Adequate staff with skills to handle exhibit items
• Technical staff and experienced educators to deliver educational programs
• Possible high audience attendance

Hire fees: The exhibition is free of charge
Duration: Minimum 3 months
Required area: Minimum 300 m2
Available dates: After September 2023 - until December 2026
Costs supported by the host institution: One-way transportation and insurance of the exhibition at their own venue, maintenance onsite, local publicity campaign, interim storage, if necessary
House of European History's contribution: All required physical assets: exhibition objects, exhibition texts in 2 or 3 languages (English + 1 or 2 local languages), showcases, set-works, design, audio-visual and lighting equipment
Partnership: The House of European History is open to cooperation with the host museum to complement the exhibition in terms of events and additional displays.


Contact: Raluca Neamu – Project Manager, Touring Exhibition / E-mail- Phone: +32 47 47 01 435