‘A Welcome and Important Part of their Role’
DOI link for ‘A Welcome and Important Part of their Role’
‘A Welcome and Important Part of their Role’ book
Most writing about repatriation from museums has naturally focused on the benefits to the people to whom ancestral remains or sacred items are being returned. Repatriations have also had a significant impact on museums, sometimes gaining objects for their collections, such as the replica Ghost Dance Shirt donated to Glasgow Museums, and improving the knowledge and understanding that museums have of their collections. Perhaps of greater significance have been the lasting relationships with the communities to whom items were repatriated, leading to exhibitions of mutual benefit, such as the Blackfoot Gallery in the Glenbow Museum in Calgary (Conaty 2003) and the incorporation of traditional practices of care, as in the National Museum of the American Indian (Rosoff 2003) and the Museum of Anthropology of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (Rowley and Hausler 2008). In New Zealand, this has further developed with the embedding of the interests of indigenous people within museum governance as well as practice, as in the bicultural governance of Te Papa (Butts 2002), though the extent to which this has led to sustainable changes in museum governance in North America has been criticized by some commentators (e.g. Scott and Luby 2007). For museums in Europe ‘the context of relationships in the present with the community: the consultation, the human interaction, the willingness to learn, and the investment of time, effort, and money’ (Peers and Brown 2003: 13) are much more difficult to build because of the hundreds of potential links around the world that may be faced by each museum.