The Art of the Fake: Egyptian Forgeries from the Kelsey Museum of Archeology

Welcome to an exciting exhibition! We worked with Robin Meador-Woodruff of the Kelsey Museum of Archeology to bring you this special exhibition of selected Egyptian artifacts -- both real and fake. In this exhibition, you'll learn how and why museums come to acquire forgeries, and what we mean when we talk about different kinds of fakes. You'll even have a chance to compare many of these forgeries with the genuine article.

Most museum collections contain a certain number of forgeries, and the collections of the Kelsey Museum of Archeology are no exception. Over the almost one hundred years of museum collecting history, various objects of dubious authenticity have found their way into the collections.

Forgeries are collected both inadvertently and on purpose by museums. Often, a donated object will be accepted by a museum which has no curator whose expertise lies in that type of material. The piece may appear to be genuine to a non-specialist, and the object enters the collections. Later examination by an expert will prove that the piece can not be original. In other cases, the piece may be accepted as genuine by the experts until subsequent scholarship or scientific testing disproves authenticity. Finally, there are cases where forgeries are of such a convincing construction that they simply fool the experts. Often, forgers are well-educated enough to be familiar with those aspects which popular scholarship attributes to the works of a particular period, and incorporate those aspects into a forgery.

Enter the Image Gallery

The Art of the Fake: Egyptian Forgeries from the Kelsey Museum of Archeology

Exhibit Curators: Robin Meador-Woodruff, Terry Wilfong and Janet Richards
Exhibit Designer: Anne Noakes