Coco de Mer – A Nut in the Museum’s Collection

A glance at the collections of the Deutsches Historisches Museum reveals the immense variety of objects that are related to different epochs and topics of German history. They tell stories of our past or current lives, of famous or often unknown persons and events. In our new blog series #Umweltsammeln (#Environmentcollecting) we present various objects that have to do with the topic of “environment”. Unexpected questions raised by the heads of the different collection sections open new perspectives on historical objects and often reveal startling parallels to questions that deal with our current world. Dr Wolfgang Cortjaens, head of the Applied Arts collection, highlights the change in perspectives on a curious, intriguing object in the collection: The sea coconut, or Coco de mer, was and still is not only a coveted trading commodity, but has taken on many different meanings over time. As a museum object it opens several different perspectives on a natural product and its historical contextualisation.