The Johann Jacobs Museum develops exhibitions to find something out. We want to take a fresh look at the history and present of our world. Rather than emphasize differences between nations, eras and cultures or cementing identities, we focus on understanding and shedding light on the complexities of global interdependence. They show in the ambiguity of human interaction and the open-ended significance not only of artworks, but of most of the objects we handle. Our method is the “migration of form”: We work with academics, artists and other experts of our transcultural everyday life such as schoolchildren, for example, to follow the movement of things across the globe and through time.

Raw Materials

What is human history about if not the distribution of scarce resources?

Area of Research

A Museum of the Present

How do museums deal with the fact that our global present consists of complex, centuries-old interdependencies?

Area of Research

Shipping Routes

What's life like at sea, in the “forgotten space” of the modern age?

Area of Research

New Africa

“Africa does not have to tag behind anyone. Above all, it has no reason to follow the paths prescribed by others.”

Area of Research

Artistic Research

On the independent existence of historical facts and speculation along the gray area between poetry and truth.

Area of Research

The Topicality of Chinese Antiquity

What role has China’s traditional, deeply feudally-impacted art and culture played in the radical modernization process the country has been undergoing since the 1980s?

Area of Research

Global Switzerland

On the history and present-day global interdependence of a supposedly self-sufficient state.

Area of Research

Tropical Modernism

Modernism is a global co-production that touched almost every corner of the world, and continues to do so today.

Area of Research

Meiji and later

What contradictions and conflicts lie concealed beneath the shining cloak of Japanese aesthetics?

Area of Research

Forms of showing

On exhibitions as a way of brushing patterns of perception against the grain.

Area of Research


On Tour

Mobile Worlds

Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
13 Apr 2018 - 14 Oct 2018


Public Tours Sundays 2 pm
3 Jul 2018 7:00 pm

Thematic Tour

Beads and Trade Routes

With Roger M. Buergel
Where do the beads lead us, when we trace them back to their place of origin? (GE)
15 Jul 2018 3:00 pm

Theme Talk

Making Comparisons that Matter

Global Art History and the Challenge of Taste
Chika Okeke-Agulu (Professor for African and African Diaspora Art, Princeton University) in conversation with Roger M. Buergel (Direktor Johann Jacobs Museum) (EN)
29 Jul 2018
Public event in Zurich
11 Aug 2018
Public event in Zurich
9 Oct 2018
Upcoming exhibition under construction
1 Dec 2018
Private event
4 Dec 2018
Private event
Events are included in the general museum admission ticket if not otherwise stated.