Date of Award

5-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MA Museum Professions

Department

Communication and the Arts

Advisor

Janet Marstine

Keywords

Museum repatriation issues, Loan agreements

Abstract

Over the last twenty years, international treaties and resolutions have attempted to define cultural property and reach a unilateral consensus regarding the return of these objects. The demand for repatriation has become louder and more common as claims have forced museums to find strategic solutions to reparation issues when the care and safety of objects are at risk. The history of strategic solutions to reparation is not one solely based in the contemporary, it stretches to the past, is being written today, and will remain an issue of the future. Strategic solutions have benefited both the museum and the claimant by strengthening international ties, spreading museological standards and allowing for greater accessibility to cultural objects worldwide. But at the same time, several problems cloud the effectiveness of these strategic solutions: including overtly political bias actions, expositions of the needs of source nations, and serving only the interests of the museum. This thesis seeks to address how these issues have been remedied through the use of emerging ethical standards to allow for models of sharing cultural property through the copy: the brokering and loan agreement with the appropriate source community and the digital reproduction while placing a new emphasis on building partnerships to benefit the needs of both the museum and the claimant.

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