Special Exhibition “Pin it!”

Did Social Media already exist in the Middle Ages? In its special exhibition “Pin it! Social Media of the Middle Ages”, the European Hansemuseums provides possibles answers to this question.

In this special exhibition, the European Hansemuseum combines unique medieval badges and today's digital communication culture in the form of emojis. Badges are centuries-old insignia of lead-tin alloys with various shapes and symbols: from the most sacred to the most obscene. Male and female sex organs with wings, beards and legs are astonishing because of their directness. In the Middle Ages, these cheaply produced signs were worn by all social groups in Western Europe - this is why they can be called the first pictorial mass medium in Western Europe.

Pin it! Social Media
of the Middle Ages


19 May - 06 August 2017

But what did the bearer want to express with the badges? The exhibition compares how people in the Middle Ages and today communicate by using signs and symbols. Over 250 badges, both sacred and profane, will be on display. The exhibits date from the 14th to 16th century and most of them are being shown for the first time in Germany. An interactive photo box where visitors can dress up, two art installations and a magnetic wall for stories full of new and old symbols form a bridge between the past and the present - and make badges and emojis come alive together.


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Vulva figure dressed as pilgrim, butterfly and flying phallus figure - original height of the badges approx. 1.5 to 3cm.


The exhibition was already shown in the Zeeuws Museum in Middelburg, Netherlands, during the last year. In the European Hansemuseum, however, these exhibits are complemented by pilgrims' badges which were found in Lübeck. "Pin it!" will be located in the Castle Friary. Visiting the exhibition is included in the regular ticket price, more information about the prices can be found here. A varied supporting programme with an international colloquium, lectures, guided tours and offers for children completes the trip into the unknown world of badges.

"Pin it! Social Media of the Middle Ages #PIEHM" is sponsored by the Lübeck Possehl-Stiftung.