Helping journalists, producers and conference planners find the female guests, speakers and expert sources they need.

Fake or real? Vancouver library exhibit blurs lines of history

CTV News with Claire Battershill 10 July 2019

A travelling exhibition of fakes and forgeries is on display at the Vancouver Public Library, blurring the lines between what’s a historical artifact and what’s a modern day replica.

Make Believe: The Secret Library of Mr. Prud’homme is a physical and digital exhibition of items discovered in the attic of a Saskatchewan farmhouse, including rare vases, space exploration logs, fake obituaries and botanical findings. 

After Prud’homme died, the items were donated to a library group in 1952. This summer, the collection was taken across the country and its final stop is in Vancouver. 

Heather Jessup, co-curator of the exhibit, says the goal of the display is to ask questions about Canada’s history. 

“Part of the question is asking whose history gets told, what institutions like museums and libraries do in terms of telling stories and telling our own history in Canada,” she told CTV News. 

But it’s not just Prud’homme’s items on display. Recent additions have been made to the collection, like a bronze-looking vase. 

“Actually it was 3D printed,” said co-curator Claire Battershill. “It was printed on a 3D printer in pieces and then moulded together and then it was painted with a paint that oxidizes so it’s going to look older and older over time, even though it’s made out of plastic.”

Visitors can also play a game of what is real and what is fake at the exhibit, identifying objects that were created in 2019 or in the past. 

“We want people to come, have fun, make believe, play pretend and figure out what you think is fake and what you think is real,” Battershill said. 

The free exhibit is on display at the library’s central branch until Aug. 20.