April Fakes Day

Event date
1 Apr 2024 to 7 Apr 2024
Event type
Event cost
Disabled access?
Booking required
Not required

Can you tell a fake from the real thing? Join Oxford University researcher Patricia Kingori for a celebration of hoaxes, forgeries and fakes, where nothing is as it seems.

Professor Kingori’s research explores different kinds of fakes. Fake animals, relics and paintings in museums seem harmless, but deepfake videos, fake medicines and misinformation have real consequences in the modern world – as we see in the news every day.

'Fakes are often dismissed as rubbish. But in a world where it’s increasingly hard to tell what’s real, they can help to understand what we value and raise other important questions - such as who gets to say that something is real or fake? Why?'

From tricksters in Oxford to monsters in London; this April Fool’s Day, be careful what you believe.

In Oxford:

Oxford University Botanic Garden
Monday 1 April
Head to Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum's social media to find out more about the 1957 Panorama spaghetti tree hoax. Did you know that pasta grows on trees?

Oxford University Museum of Natural History
April 1–6
How do you know what you’re looking at? The museum has numerous remarkable objects to display – including some specimens that aren't quite as real as they first seem. Head over to look through their collections to discover what is real, and what is not.

The Ashmolean
Learn about fakes and forgeries throughout history by visiting Gallery 4. Use the Museum's display to learn how to tell if something is a 'real' fake.

The Story Museum
Friday 29 March, Saturday 20 March and Monday 1 April
Listen to stories of tricksters and shapeshifters who appear in tales across cultures and generations.

The History Of Science Museum
April 2–7
Can you spot the fake medicines hidden among the real ones? How can you tell if information on medicine is real? Join the hunt...

The Bodleian
Monday 1 April
Find a case of fake books, documents and art in the Weston Library.

Uncomfortable Oxford
Monday 1 April
Head to the Uncomfortable Oxford blog to learn about the intriguing story of how a replica of the Zimbabwe Bird found its place atop Rhodes' House on Oxford's South Parks Road, a symbol bringing together medieval African history and colonial ideology.

Pitt Rivers Museum
Tuesday 2 April (2pm-4.30pm)
Join museum curators on the Clore Balcony for a special opportunity to handle fake ivory, and learn about how and why it's made.

Ultimate Picture Palace
Wednesday 3 April
Join us for a special screening of Orson Welles' film F For Fake, followed by a Q&A with with Professor Patricia Kingori (curator of April Fakes Day), Dr Andrew Dunning (Curator of Medieval Manuscripts at the Bodleian), chaired by JC Niala (Head of Research, Teaching and Collections, Museum of The History of Science).
Click here for tickets.

In London:

Natural History Museum
Monday 1 April
Have you ever heard of a ‘Jenny Haniver’? These mysterious monsters started turning up in the 1500s - but are they real? Take a look at one in the Darwin Centre, and decide for yourself.

The British Museum
Monday 1 April
What is 'real gold' and how do we authenticate it? On their blog, the British Museum team dissect some different examples.