Today, more than ever before, attitudes to the past are characterised by an intense striving for historical authenticity. In practical terms, this manifests itself, for example, in the value attached to "authentic objects" in museums, collections and archives or to "authentic places" - be they historic buildings, urban architectural ensembles or memorial sites. This desire for historical authenticity and past "reality" goes hand in hand with an attachment to "tradition" and a longing to experience history "first hand". It is bound up with a quest for things regarded as "genuine" and with a wish to reconstruct and preserve the "true" and "original".
The Leibniz Research Alliance Historical Authenticity seeks to explore how historical and contemporary conceptions of authenticity affect the way we deal with our cultural heritage by examining the reconstruction and conservation of historical artefacts, by studying the function of language as a cultural repository and instrument, by tracing the development of school textbooks and maps, and looking at the conception of museums, archives, monuments and memorial sites.
The Leibniz Research Alliance Historical Authenticity is a new form of cooperation and includes historical, educational, social sciences and spatial research institutes as well as research museums. It will take a interdisciplinary and international approach, drawing on the full range of competence and expertise at the participating research museums and institutes. This ranges from cultural studies to the social and life sciences. Seventeen Leibniz institutes and four external partners are currently involved in the project.