April Fakes Day 2024

Poster for April Fakes Day event

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 OBGA'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
Monday 1 – Saturday 6 April
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. More information.

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 & Monday 1 April
Listen to stories of tricksters and shapeshifters who appear in tales across cultures and generations.

The History of Science Museum
From Tuesday 2 April
Can you spot the fake medicines hidden among the real ones? How can you tell if information on medicine is real? Join the hunt! And don't miss Orson Welles' F for Fake at the UPP followed by a panel discussion with April Fakes Day Curator Professor Patricia Kingori. More information.

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

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. More information.

Pitt Rivers Museum
Tuesday 2 April, 2 - 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 Professor Patricia Kingori (curator of April Fakes Day) and Dr Andrew Dunning (Curator of Medieval Manuscripts at the Bodleian), chaired by Dr JC Niala (Head of Research, Teaching and Collections, Museum of The History of Science).
Click here for tickets.

In London

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Tuesday 2 April: Online discussion

Unveiling the Deception: Exploring the Impact of Fakes and Forgeries on Museums

Professor Patricia Kingori, from the Ethox Centre at the University of Oxford discusses the impact of fakes and forgeries with Vernon Rapley, the Director of Cultural Heritage Protection and Security at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (UK).

Book your place here


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? The British Museum team dissect some different examples. Blog post #1 and blog post #1!


Monday 1 April
Head to the Culture& blog to read about a subversive fake: the first 3D printed replica of the bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti - and how it intersects with depictions of Nefertiti in popular culture and contemporary art. More information.