The law will apply only in “rare cases,” one expert says, but nevertheless signals a shift from past legal restrictions.
Mexican officials said the objects were “voluntarily returned” by citizens from Austria, Canada, Switzerland, and the US, but have not provided further details.
Some US museums will overlook the dubious origins of acquisitions if it suits their purposes.
And no, Cambodia doesn’t need the Metropolitan Museum’s help in preserving its cultural heritage.
“The work of cultural restitution must be about what we give up, not just what or how we give back,” writes Dan Hicks in response to Arts Council England’s new restitution guidelines for museums.
It is the first national museum in England to agree to restitute looted Benin items, increasing pressure on the British Museum to do the same.
As the global consensus on restitution passes the tipping point, some skepticism towards these sudden, improbable Damascene conversions towards restitution is probably justified.
Previously, the Smithsonian held that its museums were entitled to retain an artifact so long as its provenance rested on solid legal ground.
The institution says it will return most of the 39 artifacts in its collection to Nigeria for eventual display at the Benin City National Museum.
Charles Dellheim’s study tells the tale of a small group of Jewish art dealers and collectors who played a key role in the changing art world of the 19th and 20th centuries.
For many people and organizations,restitution is simply the beginning of a long fight for cultural heritage and the right to remember.
The museum and the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments entered into a shared agreement to collaborate on mutual loans of Benin objects and other “exchanges of expertise and art.”