A safe and enjoyable museum visit for everyone

From December 17, 2021 to March 13, 2022

Misleiden - Fakes in art and science

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Real or fake? That's the question in Misleiden - Fakes from art and science. Stroll offline and online past more than twenty objects from nine Leiden collections that put you on the wrong track. On display from 17 December at Museum De Lakenhal and via digital platform Things That Talk. Do you dare to believe your eyes?

Whether an art object is real or fake is not always easy to say. Sometimes the desire for an object to be real takes over: then a researcher or enthusiast may have struck gold. We want something to be real, even if we can hardly believe our eyes.


What are counterfeiters' motivations for doing what they do? And if an object is indistinguishable from the real thing, isn't it a work of art in itself? These questions are central to the exhibition Misleiden, with which Leiden institutions offer a look behind the scenes of researchers and curators. The exhibition includes, for example, a stingray disguised as a dragon, a forged relief tile and a very cleverly copied eye.


The exhibition is a special collaboration of nine Leiden institutions: the objects come from the collections of Museum De Lakenhal, het Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, Naturalis, Museum van Volkenkunde and Japan Museum SieboldHuis. There are also contributions from Leiden University Library, het Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten (NINO) en Erfgoed Leiden en Omstreken. The collaborative project is an initiative of Alexander Mouret of the annual conference Brave New World and Fresco Sam-Sin of the digital platform Things That Talk, who is also a guest curator of the physical exhibition.

Online and offline

In the exhibition, online and offline blend seamlessly. You can visit the exhibition in the museum, or completely digitally from home. Would you like to know more about the objects in the museum? Scan the QR codes and dive deeper into the details of the objects and discover where the deception lies. In this way you will discover up close where the difference between real and fake lies.

view the digital exhibition from 17 December
Rog gevouwen in de vorm van een draak
Rog gevouwen in de vorm van een draak Photo: Cees de Jonge

Japanese copies
Japanese copies From the collection of Japanmuseum SieboldHuis | Photo: Cees de Jonge


During the exhibition there are several activities. For example, the Kids College in which you will explore the difference between real and fake with guest curator Fresco Sam-Sin. Keep an eye on the activities page for more.

view activities


Alexander Mouret (Brave New World)

Guest curator

Fresco Sam-Sin (Things That Talk)

This exhibition has been made possible by:

Gemeente Leiden | Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds | Gravin van Bylandt Stichting