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Things Aren’t What They Seem: Forgeries and Deceptions from the UD Collections


Aug 28, 2018 to Dec 14, 2018
09:00 AM until 05:00 PM

This event occurs weekly, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.


Forgeries—false works claiming to be genuine—aren’t expected to have much worth. As such, it may be surprising to learn that items once deemed worthless frauds and illegal acts can serve as valuable artifacts today. In this exhibition, explore how forgeries were made, why they were created and how they were debunked.

Whether outright forgeries, historic practical jokes or cases of mistaken identity, the objects on display span several centuries and cover a wide variety of media from the UD Library, Museums and Press’ Special Collections and Museums. Visitors can look closely at forged artworks, and come face-to-face with modern “antiquities” created to mimic artifacts from Egypt and Greece as well as mineral specimens, including brass imitating gold.

Discover literary forgeries, including pirated editions, books with false authorship and historic hoaxes, as well as “creative forgeries,” including those by T.J. Wise, a formerly respected bibliographer who used his standing to create and sell unrecorded, so-called first editions of popular English authors. In addition, with a careful look at fraudulent manuscripts, see the disparity in quality among forgeries.

For more information about hours and programming, visit


Image caption: Forgery of Albert Pinkham Ryder, “A Spanking Breeze,” oil on canvas, undated [no later than 1935]




View map University of Delaware's Morris Library
181 S. College Ave.
Special Collections Gallery
Newark, DE

Additional Information


University of Delaware Library, Museums & Press


New Castle County


Camden,Chadds Ford,Claymont,Elsmere,Hockessin,Middletown,New Castle,Newark,North Wilmington,Wilmington,Kennett Square,Philadelphia

We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, and other information.

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