Welcome to humanzoos.net – the first online archive on human zoos.

This homepage aims to be a guide for people interested in the phenomenon of human zoos, especially the visual remnants. The core of this archive is the Collection Radauer consisting of over 1500 postcards, photographs, publicity materials, newspaper articles and other items linked to the exhibition of “exotic” people in Europe and the USA.

Allthough the basic functions of the archive are operational, the site is still under construction and thus specific parts of the Collection Radauer are not yet online (e.g. newspaper articles & illustrations). Beyond that, some functions are unfortunately not yet in perfect working order (e.g. search funtion). These issues will be taken care of in the next weeks.

The Welcome page also includes the “news” section (below)

The Human Zoos page features an introduction on the topic of human zoos (will be extended soon)

The Collection Radauer page allows access to the archive sorted by different categories

The Bibliography page contains recommended literature on human zoos and the Links page links to related articles & pages




The Collection Radauer cooperated with the Museo Pier Maria Rossi in Berceto, Italy, for the exhibition Storie di Vite Usate – la diversita in mostra. The exhibition is on show from 23.07. – 25.09.2016 and focusses on the history of human zoos with a focus on Italy. Over 50 original items from the Collection Radauer are on display and even more images are featured in the catalog for the exhibition.


A picture from the Collection Radauer was used for this blog about the Ainu from Japan.


The Swiss literature magazine Orte – Schweizer Literaturzeitschrift featured an article about Switzerlands role in Colonialism in its March issue. One of the pictures was an original flyer from the Collection Radauer.

Orte 03.2016

Orte 03.2016

Orte Detail 1

Orte Detail 1

Orte Detail 2

Orte Detail 2


The catalan history magazine Sapiens featured an article about human zoos in its September issue. Two of the pictures were original photographs from the Collection Radauer.

Sapiens Sept. 2015 1

Sapiens Sept. 2015 1

Sapiens Sept. 2015 2

Sapiens Sept. 2015 2

Sapiens Sept. 2015 3

Sapiens Sept. 2015 3


The Goethe Institute Addis Abeba used two postcards of the Collection Radauer for an exhibition called “Cultural Research in Northeastern Africa” – about the unusual relationship between Ethiopia and Germany during the past three centuries.

One of the interresting stories featured in the exhibition is that of Muhammad Nur – a scholar from British Somaliland who came to Germany with a human zoo in 1910 and stayed there until 1922 working for different istitutions such as the ‘Kolonialinstitut’ (Institute for Colonial Affairs) and the University of Hamburg.

1912 Somali-Dorf 4

1912 Somali-Dorf 4

6 Muhammad Nur klein


The Kunsthalle Mannheim is showing an exhibition on Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – one of the founders of the artists group “Die Brücke” – called Der Doppelte Kirchner. The title of the exhibition refers to the often forgotten sketches/paintings on the backside of Kirchner’s works – which is an effect of the recycling of canvases by simply turning them around.

from 06.02.2015 until 31.05.2014

In the 1910s Kirchner visited human zoos and sketched the participants and therefor two postcards of the Collection Radauer are used in the exhibition catalogue for reference.

Der Doppelte Kirchner

Der Doppelte Kirchner - Katalog


Les éditions du Crieur Publique did a review on an article on human zoos in the July 2014 edition of P.M. Magazine which focusses on the history of human zoos in Germany. In this article a postcard from the Collection Radauer was used.

Bildschirmfoto 2014-10-23 um 09.23.13


A picture of the Collection Radauer is used in an online exhibition of the Hampshire College’s Institute for Curatorial Practice (ICP) called Sometimes a Traveller: Women, Othered Bodies, and the Colonizing Gaze.


» This exhibition understands that the position of being a subject is one of immense power and was historically granted almost only to white men, who then used their privileges to objectify racialized female bodies through othering representation–what we here call the “colonizing gaze.” «

Bildschirmfoto 2014-10-23 um 09.23.28


An article about the Collection Radauer published by Les éditions du Crieur Publique.

A German-French publishing house that also focusses on human zoos – Les éditions du Crieur Publique – published the great anthology “Zoos Humains” in German in 2012: Menschenzoos. The publishing house is also cooperating with the French research Group ACHAC in order to bring the exhibition HUMAN ZOOS, The invention of the savage – which has been touring through France after opening in the Musée du Quai Branly in 2011 – to Germany. Les éditions du Crieur Publique and the Collection Radauer have chosen to cooperate in the future.

Eine wahre Fundgrube


Five items of the Sammlung Radauer at the upcoming exhibition of the Ethnographic Museum of Munich: From Samoa with Love

from 31.01.2014 until 05.10.2014

The exhibition will be focussing on human zoos from Samoa organized by the brothers Carl & Fritz Marquardt between 1895 and 1911. Several aspects of these human zoos will be discussed. How were the participants recruited? Did they participate voluntarily or due to force? How did the German public percieve these exhibitions? What was the true intention of the German organisers? What was the impact of these exhibitions on the turn of the century Germany?

These and many other questions will be answered with help of pieces from archives, private collections, collections of the museum and interviews with descendants of participants.

1895/1896 Samoaner-Truppe im Zoologischen Garten Frankfurt a. Main 2

1895/1896 Samoaner-Truppe im Zoologischen Garten Frankfurt a. M.

From Samoa with Love?

© Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde München