Museum collecting practices have come under scrutiny for collecting antiquities without a provenance or with a questionable provenance. Scholars (Coggins 1972; Renfrew 2000) have accused museums of acquiring illicit objects, looted from their source country. In recent decades, countries such as Guatemala, Italy, and Peru have demanded the return of their cultural patrimony (repatriation) from museums around the world. With the demand for the return of cultural patrimony, scholars debate whether museums should return antiquities, which comes into direct conflict with the universal museum's goal to house the entire world's culture under one roof. As the debate over repatriation persists, some countries find themselves successful in their demands while others seem to not have a chance at success.
This thesis will analyze three repatriation cases, Guatemala and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Peru and Yale, and Italy and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to determine the factors that lead to a successful repatriation and make suggestions based on those factors. Based on factors such as public relations, the strength of a country's cultural patrimony laws, museum policies, long-term loan agreements, I argue that countries seeking the return of cultural property should be willing to engage in agreements with museums, have a history of protecting cultural property, and have evidence to show that an object in question came from its borders.
|Advisor:||Blomster, Jeffrey P.|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||MAI 50/01M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Archaeology, Museum studies|
|Keywords:||Antiquities, Cultural property, Massachusetts, Repatriation|
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