Repatriation at Academic Art Museums: Processes, Practices, and Concepts in the Restitution of Cultural Property
By: Nick Obourn
Published: 05/01/2015
Uploaded: 05/12/2015
Uploaded by: Arts Administration Program
Pockets: Advocacy, Cultural Policy, Government, & Law, Arts Administration, Arts Administration Program Theses, Arts Administration: General, Development, Philanthropy, International, Multiculturalism, Visual Arts, Museums, Crafts, ARAD Theses: Fall 2013 to Spring 2015
Tags: archaeology, cultural internationalism, cultural nationalism, cultural property, museum acquisition policy, Repatriation

Description/Abstract: In the past twenty years, the repatriation of cultural property has become a central concern for cultural institutions and origin countries. Divisions have formed between curators, scholars, and government officials from origin countries. One is either a supporter of cultural nationalism, believing that objects belong in their country of creation, or a supporter of cultural internationalism, believing that objects are for the world to witness and belong where they will be cared for best and seen the most. Debates aside, repatriation claims initiated by origin countries, combined with legal parameters, have forced museums to look at their collections in a new light. The inquiry into where an object came from and when it came into a museum collection is now paramount for cultural institutions. The rise in visibility and frequency of these cases has prompted cultural institutions to re-examine their collections, past practices, and current administrative policies. This thesis examines how museums are coping with repatriation claims, how their policies are changing or not changing as a result of these claims, and what the spate of claims mean for cultural institutions and their relationships with origin countries, going forward.