Articles

Ringen um Rückgabe
Frühe Forderungen der Maori nach Restitution und Repatriierung, 1945-1947
Currently, this contribution exists only in the German version, translation under way.

The Puzzle of the Postcolonial Purse
Handbags outside of the Western canon
Since the writing of this piece, the Amsterdam Museum of Bags and Purses has sadly been forced to close due to financial pressures exacerbated by the current crisis. This is a difficult time for all heritage organisations, and smaller institutions are always the most at risk. The closing of the Museum of Bags and Purses […]

We talk, you listen!
Currently, this contribution exists only in German, translation to follow. Francis La Flesche, 1857-1932. This photograph is available courtesy of the National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution (Photograph 4504).                        

The Ethics of Repatriation and Working Collaboratively in Aotearoa New Zealand
The return of human remains back to descendant communities and countries of origin is a growing and developing part of museology throughout the world. Fifty years ago returning human remains or even cultural objects was almost unheard of. But in 2019 the return of ancestral remains and objects is increasingly becoming the norm. In Aotearoa […]

Decolonisation? Collaboration!
Towards a Renewed Concept of ‘Museum’ in Europe and Africa
What options do we have for dealing with the Africa collections in our museums in Europe and in Africa? Let us start with a quote from Malcolm McLeod, keeper of the Department of Ethnography of the British Museum from 1974-1990: Museums are expected to collect things, yet museum collecting, in some cultures, need not be […]

The Fundamental Problem of Ethnography and Colonialism
Some thoughts on two exhibitions in Berlin’s House of World Cultures
Through 6 January 2020 in the House of World Cultures in Berlin, one can still visit two exhibitions that have several things in common. The first is not unusual, but rather everyday museum practice. Both exhibitions are devoted to the work of dead, white, German men. “Spectral White: The Appearance of Colonial-Era Europeans” deals with […]

Colonial Collectors and their Legacy
Why Asking “Why?” Matters
At the time of writing, the conference Museum Collections in Motion lies only weeks in the past and its impacts, its questions and discussions still move me. For all its moments of connection and shared ideals, it was not a harmonious conference. Especially in the beginning, it seemed like mistrust could win over and end […]

The Brachiosaurus brancai in the Natural History Museum Berlin
A Star Exhibit of Natural History as a German and Tanzanian Realm of Memory?
This contribution deals with the area of natural history, a field which to date has remained outside the focus of the research and debates surrounding looted art and the theft of cultural assets and has scarcely featured as a topic in the history of remembrance. The focus here is on a scientific object, the skeleton […]

VOICES FROM THE CONFERENCE 3 – Visions for the future
An Interview with Wandile Kasibe
[Please find our collected voices from day one here and from day two here.] A very moving Day Two begged the question of how to conclude the conference. From our perspective, the question of how to move on, how to end a meeting like this, remained open. We do not know how the momentum of […]

VOICES FROM THE CONFERENCE 2 – Getting to the core
[Please find the collected voices from day one here.] Day two of the conference “Museum Collections in Motion” offered an insight into curating practices from different places. Among others, Malick Ndiaye gave a talk on his work as curator for the Theodore Monod Mueseum of African Art in Dakar, Senegal in which he described the […]