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European museums may loan back some works stolen from former colonies

Category: Global Thinking
statues and other artifacts from the Kingdom of Dahomey on display at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris
Gerard Julien/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

European museums are grappling with their colonial legacies as countries request the return of artifacts in their collections. Museums and governments are far from consensus on questions about ownership, the universality of artifacts and history, and who can best preserve and interpret objects, but there seems to be movement towards sending artifacts back to their countries of origin on loan.

“Now, after decades of silence and even obfuscation on the part of many European governments, some of the continent’s leading cultural institutions are beginning to reevaluate colonial-era ­artifacts and, in some cases, discuss returning them to their countries of origin — under certain terms.”

– By James McAuley and Rick Noack

August 17 Nearly every Western European capital has a massive, monolithic museum designed to project an image of national might and instill ordinary citizens with patriotic pride through expansive collections that stretch across time and place. In the seats of former colonial powers, these caverns of culture also reflect contested periods of history.

Continue Reading at Washington Post

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