Shoes of the World - a new exhibition about footwear at Moesgaard

Moesgaard Museum opens a new exhibition focusing on shoes from all over the world

‘Shoes of the World - An Exhibition on People and Footwear' opens September 28, focusing on shoes from around the world. On the importance of shoes in different cultures and on how different cultures can be inspired by other cultures in relation to footwear.


The exhibition is based on zoologist Søren Tuxen's large and colorful shoe collection from around the world, which the Tuxen family has donated to Moesgaard.

Søren Tuxen's collection includes more than 230 pairs of shoes, sandals, boots and other footwear in marvelous colors and shapes, and also includes a rich and touching correspondence with Tuxen's friends and research colleagues who sent shoes home to him from all over the world.

Passion for sko - Søren Tuxen, hvis store skosamling er skænket til Moesgaard Museum. Foto: Etnografisk Afdeling, Moesgaard.

In the exhibition, you can also see and hear about magic boots from Bhutan, get the story of the Norwegian Aurland shoe factory and hear chief designer Ejnar Truelsen of the Danish shoe manufacturer ECCO tell about shoe design and the inspiration he has drawn from cultures around the world.

Magic boots from Bhutan
The exhibition "Shoes of the world" is organized by Ditte Marie Seeberg, who is an anthropologist and curator. She has researched the anthropological significance of shoes and conducted field work at a bootmaker in Bhutan.

Shoes are important on several levels. They are protection for our delicate feet. At the same time, shoes have something magically transforming about them. The Fairy Tales are filled with stories of the inherent magical power of the shoe, and footwear is one of the ways we as humans can show the world who we are or who we want to be. Shoes are a strong cultural bridge builder, and the subject embraces something generally human,” says Ditte Marie Seeberg.

According to Ditte Marie Seeberg, the Bhutanese have a very special relationship with magic and joy. Which also shows in relation to their decorated boots, which contain values ​​that are different from the western ones.

The exhibition will include a copy of the Bhutanese bootmaker's shop and workshop and cinematic conversations showing cultural similarities and differences from Denmark to the mountain people of the small Himalayan country.


Inspiration og design - chefdesigner hos ECCO, Ejnar Truelsen. Foto: Jens Kirkeby.

From Aurland shoes to Penny Loafer
In the exhibition at Moesgaard, the shoe's cultural-historical narrative and journey back and forth across the Atlantic are also conveyed, among other things, by borrowing historical shoes as well as interviews conducted at the company’s last remaining factory in Aurland in Norway.

In 1892, 17-year-old Nils Gregoriussen traveled to the United States and became a shoemaker’s apprentice in Boston. But two years later in 1894, he returned to Norway and settled in Aurland. In the 1920s, he made a new shoe design by mixing the shoes of the Norwegian folk costume, the Bunaden, with the lace-free moccasins of the Iroquois Indians. That way, the practical cabin shoe emerged as a lightweight indoor shoe.

In the 1930s, the shoe returned to the United States via US angler tourism under the name ‘Weejuns’ - slang for Norwegians. Later, the shoe became known as loafers or Penny-Loafers and became popular especially among young students at East Coast Ivy universities.

Inspiration and design
In the exhibition, you can also hear the Danish shoe manufacturer ECCO 's chief designer for many years, Ejnar Truelsen, talk about being inspired by different cultures of the world and their influence in his shoe designs. The exhibition contains a variety of the shoe designs, all of which are examples of the mix between design and inspiration from other cultures.

The exhibition 'Shoes of the World - an exhibition about people and footwear' can be seen in the museum's exhibition laboratory from September 28, 2019 to January 6, 2020.