At aunt Herta’s the harbour pub as wunderkammer

11. December 2022 to 10. September 2023

The legendary harbour and seafarers' pub ‘Glaube - Liebe – Hoffnung’ (Faith – Love – Hope) in Wyk auf Föhr, more commonly and affectionately known as ‘At aunt Herta’s’, was decorated with more than 180 seafarers’ souvenirs from all over the world. The objects which turned the premises into a cabinet of curiosities in the course of its more than 100 years of existence (1875–2010) included stuffed fish and reptiles, African and Asian wooden masks, model ships, corals, scrimshaw-decorated whale teeth and much else. The history of the pub was at the same time closely linked to the owner family and ended with the suicide of its last owner, who had appointed the Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbrüchiger (German Sea Rescue Society) as heir. Before the inventory was liquidated, the Berlin filmmaker and photographer Kai Ehlers photographed all of the cult objects.


The exhibition At aunt Herta’s – the harbour pub as wunderkammer which presents the photographs by Kai Ehlers not only to brings the unique venue on the island of Föhr back to life, but also encourages us to reflect on questions about history, tradition, appropriation and lore. The harbour pub microcosm casts light on rarely seen connections between lived social, cultural and maritime history and tells of the change and demise of classic seafaring, as well as of island life and pub culture.


A photo book by Kai Ehlers is published in conjunction with the exhibition.