Case Study: Returning works of cultural heritage to their homelands

How will this develop at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris? Read more in Fayah Nayeri’s New York Times article of June 5, 2020.

On the museum’s website you can link to a variety of tours to explore their collections.

You can also explore collections from places around the globe from the map.

Collecting COVID-19

What object(s) would you contribute to a museum to represents your experience of the COVID-19 pandemic? Read Adam Popescu’s article from the New York Times (May 25, 2020) to see what museums are collecting and the questions that arise from the act of collecting and deciding what is collected.

Ruben Natal-San Miguel’s “Toilet Paper Hoarder, Manhattan NYC” was submitted to the Museum of the City of New York‘s #CovidStoriesNYC project.
Credit: Ruben Natal-San Migue, via Museum of the City of New York
How Will We Remember the Pandemic? Museums Are Already Deciding

Canada: repatriating cultural heritage

“People Across the Globe Want Their Cultural Heritage Back. Canada May Offer a Blueprint for How to Get There”

“A proposed law would mobilize a national strategy to help Indigenous communities reclaim cultural heritage objects at home and abroad.”

A mask of the Kwakiutl, a native American clan on the West coast of Canada on display in the Humboldt Box museum in Berlin. Photo: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images.

An additional article on the Cranmer Potlatch of 1921 from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, June 8, 2018. That article closes with the following important questions:

Ask yourself:

Question 1:

What would you want to pass down to future generations?

Question 2:

What kind of cultural heritage is important to you and your community?

Question 3:

What role can museums play to help preserve and protect heritage?

 

National Museum of the American Indian

Jacki Thompson Rand
Why I Can’t Visit the National Museum of the American Indian, Reflections of an accidental privileged insider, 1989-1994.” Common-Place, vol. 7, no. 4 (July 2007).

From the article: ” ‘We’ve been trying to educate the visitors for five hundred years; how long will it take to educate the visitors?’ spoke an elderly Native woman at one of several community-based consultations I organized for the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) between 1989 and 1994. Her words—strong, angry, and impatient—formed a response to the question we carried to each consultation: what should the museum say about Native America? Her agitated comeback affected the remainder of my experience as one of the museum’s early planners and has remained with me for the past fourteen or fifteen years. Smithsonian representatives had no response for the woman then; today, the finished museum stands as a reminder of how the small-but-growing museum staff failed to find, in that tense moment of public scolding, inspiration and encouragement to tell the story that we know and the nation denies.”