Middle Schoolers Reported Racism from Staff and Patrons During a School Trip to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts

Hyperallergic, May 23, 2019

“Yesterday, May 22, the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston issued an apology for a series of racist encounters experienced by middle school students during a school trip to the institution.

A group of 30 seventh graders from the Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy in Dorchester faced prejudiced remarks by MFA staff and patrons during their visit to the museum last Thursday, according to Arturo J. Forrest, the academy’s principal. He says that all of the students attending the trip were children of color; over 90 percent of the school’s population is Black or Latinx.

“This was a strong group of students that went, they excelled academically,” Forrest told the Boston Globe. “The shock of it for them was, ‘We are the top and we carry ourselves the right way as leaders.’ You know, it was very eye-opening for them.” The academy uses historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as its inspiration, focusing its educational model on college and career preparation, and cultural empowerment.”

More here.

Seeking roundtable participants for a session titled: "Collaboration as Collections Stewardship"  

Collections stewardship generated through community collaborations operates in many directions. Not only do objects serve and re-serve source communities in both traditional and innovative ways, but objects receive vital attention they may otherwise not receive including: attention to conservation needs, attention to re-housing needs, cataloging and re-cataloging, editing of and addition to catalog information, and further contextualization. Through these collaborations, collections are also generally brought to the attention of stakeholders beyond the project such as: collections managers, curators, education specialists, fundraisers, etc. The participants in this round table each in some way contribute to a collections-focused community collaboration within a cultural heritage institution and will be discussing the benefits not only for the community and the the institution, but also for the collections and how these efforts are not, and cannot be, considered mutually exclusive.

The 2019 CMA meeting is taking place in Santa Fe, NM from September 19-21st.

If interested, please reach out to Haley Bryant, Bryanth@si.edu by Wednesday, May 29th.

The International Council of African Museums (AFRICOM) Celebrates the Restitution of African Heritage on International Museum Day on 18th of May, 2019

To mark the 2019 International Museum Day (IMD), Africa, is celebrating with the rest of the world’s museums this year’s theme « Museums as Cultural Hubs—The Future of Tradition» to voice its support for the restitution of museum collections to the African continent this year and in years to come.

Today, the International Council of African Museums (AFRICOM) announced its renaissance on this IMD 2019. After having surveyed African members and galvanized museum and heritage delegates, the decision to join the international movement for the protection of African heritage has been unanimous.
The first meeting of the revived AFRICOM will be held at the ICOM General Conference in Kyoto, Japan on September 3, 2019 on the theme «Heritage Restitution as the Future of Tradition.> Since its founding in 1999 in Lusaka, Zambia, AFRICOM has been the sole Pan-African Museums NGO.
More and more, Africans recognize cultural and natural heritage as key to peacemaking and sustainable development. As cultural hubs, African history, arts, sciences, craft, natural history in traditional and modern, local, national and innovative museums are conserving the future of tradition, the tangible and intangible heritage of generations to come. African heritage is protected in local communities, museums, universities, archives, libraries, heritage centers and on urban, rural, archeological and natural sites.

New and renovated museums in Africa are thriving: the recently opened Museum of Black Civilisations (Musée des civilisations noires) in Dakar, Senegal ; the restored Abomey Palace in Benin ; the renovated Musée national du Cameroun in Yaoundé ; the new Zeitz Museum for Contemporary Art (MOCAA) in Cape Town, South Africa, Musée des civilisations de Côte d’Ivoire... AFRICOM’s network is working for pan-African collaboration with national museums from Algeria to Zimbabwe, starting with Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco, Kenya’s 20 museums and 9 sites, Nigeria’s 52 national museums in 34 states, South Africa’s IZIKO network of 11 national museums, libraries and archives, with cultural stewardship from Botswana, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Sénégal & Seychelles...

The International Council of African Museums has revived the AFRICOM network with delegates from all 54 African countries. AFRICOM has formally addressed support for French President Emmanuel Macron’s Declaration of Ouagadougou (November 2017) and recommendations to return African heritage and museum collections as per the restitution report by Felwine Sarr & Benedicte de Savoy (2018), as well as a future international convention on restitution of indigenous heritage to former colonial states.

All African parties surveyed are unanimous in supporting the return of colonial-era museum collections to Africa. In France, and throughout Europe, in Germany, Belgium, Holland, and the United Kingdom, as well as in the United States and elsewhere, museums with significant African collections are reconsidering where, why and how this African tradition should be best protected now and into the future.

The AFRICOM Heritage Community is here to say that :
« Heritage Resitution is the Future of African Tradition »...

Dr. Rudo Sithole, Acting AFRICOM Executive Director
Ech-cherki Dahmali, Acting AFRICOM Vice President
Email : rdsithole9@gmail.com & e.dahmali@gmail.com

Toledo Museum of Art and Republic of Italy Reach Repatriation Agreement Over Ancient Greek Vessel

ARTNews, March 16, 2019

“A red-figured skyphos—an ancient Greek earthenware drinking vessel—in the collection of the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio will be repatriated to Italy, where it will now be under the jurisdiction of the country’s government. The vessel, which dates to 420 B.C.E. and is attributed to the Kleophon Painter of Athens, will remain at TMA for the next four years. Through the museum’s agreement, the TMA may ask to renew the loan or request another object from Italy as part of an ongoing cultural exchange.

The museum purchased the skyphos in 1982 for $90,000. After the work’s provenance was disputed in 2017 by forensic archaeologist Christos Tsirogiannis, the TMA conducted an internal investigation in collaboration with Italian authorities.”

More here.

RFP: CMA 2019 Conference “International Museum Anthropology Different: Perspectives and Recent Developments Beyond the United States” Roundtable

RFP: CMA 2019 Conference “International Museum Anthropology Different: Perspectives and Recent Developments Beyond the United States” Roundtable

We are seeking roundtable participants who would like to discuss their international work as museum anthropologists at the CMA 2019 “Museums Different” Conference (Santa Fe, New Mexico, September 19- 21, 2019). As described in the abstract below, the discussion will focus on the ways that the diversity of work museum anthropologists are doing internationally creates opportunities for dialog and reflection about collaborative and other curatorial practices.

Please contact Bill Wood (woodw@uwm.edu) and Christina Kreps (Christina.Kreps@du.edu) via email and include a brief description of the project/work you would like to discuss. 

See the CMA’s website (https://museumanthropology.org) and blog (https://www.museumanthropologyblog.com) for more information about the conference.


“International Museum Anthropology Different: Perspectives and Recent Developments Beyond the United States”

This roundtable brings together participants that have been engaged in collaborative work on an international stage drawing attention to the diverse nature of the practices we call museum anthropology. Focusing on such work opens a wider space for dialog on what “museums different” are and can be. The roundtable explores questions concerning what it means to do museum anthropology “at home” and “away” and the variations in concepts like “decolonization” and “indigenization” in national and historical contexts outside the US. Participants also consider the diversity of Indigenous and other curatorial practices from a broad perspective, exploring the impact of global museological diversity on museum anthropology in the US and vice versa.

Report: Women lead visual arts jobs in Canada

Canadian HR Reporter, May 14, 2019

“Women now dominate Canada's most powerful visual arts jobs, including four of the five director positions in major art galleries from Vancouver to Halifax, which experts say is having a direct impact on exhibitions, public programming and national collection building.

While gender equality has been a goal at many organizations for the last decade, an Ontario Arts Council (OAC) research review suggests women have caught up and now lead the visual arts sector across the country.”

More here.

Natives at the Museum: Repatriation and the Reconceptualization in the Museum Space

The Dartmouth, May 16, 2019

“In 2002, the Hood Museum returned a Tlingit Chilkat shirt to southeast Alaska. The shirt, which was said to have been made before the 1880s, had been in possession of Axel Rasmussen, the superintendent of schools in Wrangell, AK. After his death, it found its way into the possession of a New York City art dealer, and when it was not sold, it was donated to Dartmouth in 1959. 

In 1995, a delegation of Tlingit people came to Dartmouth, recognized the robe and was able to recount the legend about two brothers who inherited a “naaxein” (Chilkat blanket) and cut it in half to create two tunics to share. Since the object has sacred and ceremonial value as well as continued cultural relevance in the Tlingit community, it was returned under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, a law which dictates that if an item can be traced to a particular group of people as the rightful keepers, it must be given back to them. This was an ideal case of repatriation under NAGPRA, but sometimes things are not so clear-cut, especially when international law gets involved.

Despite the complications, repatriation of these sorts of items is still feasible for all museums, especially when we rethink museum’s relationships to indigenous communities, objects and artists.   Late last year, five ceremonial objects that had previously been in the possession of galleries, auction houses and private collections all over the world were returned to Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico. These items, at the discretion of the Acoma Pueblo people, will not be on display and have not been named in press releases because Acoma society restricts ceremonial knowledge to a select few.This is one example of why items like these need to be returned — they are sacred objects that were never meant to be outside of the Pueblo and are not mere aesthetic objects for people outside of the community.”

More here.

Reminder - CFP: Museums Different, Second Biennial Conference of the Council for Museum Anthropology

The Council for Museum Anthropology’s second biennial conference will take place in Santa Fe, New Mexico from Thursday, September 19th through Saturday, September 21st, 2019. Using the unique position of Santa Fe -- the “City Different” -- as a starting point for thinking broadly about both local and global approaches to museum anthropology, the conference theme is “Museums Different.” We will build off the theme and conversations from our first conference, “Museum Anthropology Futures,” held in May 2017 at Concordia University in Montreal. 

The conference is based on Santa Fe’s Museum Hill, home to both the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology and the Museum of International Folk Art. The conference includes sessions and activities at the Institute of American Indian Arts as well as an evening reception at the School for Advanced Research. 

All proposals and funding applications are due on June 1, 2019 midnight MST.

See the CFP here.

Associate Professor in Visual, Material, and Museum Anthropology, University of Oxford School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography in association with St Peter’s College

We seek to appoint an Associate Professor of Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology from 1 October 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter. The successful candidate will work at the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and will hold a non-tutorial Fellowship at St Peter’s College. The appointment will be initially for 5 years at which point, upon completion of a successful review, the postholder will be eligible for reappointment to the retiring age.
We welcome applications from academics working on any aspects of visual, material or museum anthropology. The successful applicant will have a doctorate in a relevant subject and the excellent interpersonal skills necessary for undertaking teaching high-achieving students. You will have a track record of obtaining research funding, evidence of research accomplishment and potential commensurate with the current stage of your career, and the collaboration and leadership skills necessary to manage excellent research programmes and to attract external funding.
The main duties of the post are to carry out research at an international level, to teach, supervise and examine undergraduate and postgraduate students, and to make a contribution to School administration.
The appointee will be a Research Fellow of St Peter’s College.

Praktische informatie

The application procedure is detailed within the further particulars. Applications for this vacancy are to be made online. To apply for this role and for further details, including the job description and selection criteria, please click on this link

The closing date for applications is 12.00 midday on Wednesday 15 May 2019. Interviews are scheduled to take place in Oxford on 13 June 2019.
The School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography holds a Bronze Athena SWAN award. Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in Oxford.

Activists Return to the British Museum to Lead Another “Stolen Goods” Tour

Hyperallergic, May 8, 2019

“On Saturday, May 4, activist group BP or not BP? led a second “Stolen Goods” tour of the British Museum, during which speakers called for the repatriation of objects acquired through colonialism and an end to sponsorship from the oil company BP. The tour was the 38th action organized by the performance activist group at the British Museum.

On the Facebook event, the tour’s organizers wrote: “Refusing to return colonially-stolen artefacts is bad enough, depriving cultures around the world of vital parts of their history and glossing over the violence of colonialism. But to make things even worse the British Museum is also promoting BP, an oil company that’s threatening the lands and livelihoods of many of the same communities that those looted artefacts came from.”

The unofficial tour featured talks by Palestinian, Iraqi, Greek, and Indigenous Australian activists. Around 300 people attended the tour, including those who came especially for the event and museum visitors who decided to listen in.”

More here.

A New Museum Explores 2,000 Years of Jewish Life in Italy

The New York Times, April 24, 2019

“The epigraph etched in Latin on the ancient stone tablet was short and tender: “Claudia Aster, prisoner from Jerusalem.” Brought to Rome in chains after the quelling of the revolt in Jerusalem in 70 A.D., she was apparently the concubine of a Roman notable who wanted to give her a dignified burial and added an unusual element to the funerary stone. “I pray," it said, “take care and follow the law that no one should remove the inscription.” 

That tribute is one of many revelations at the new Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah in Ferrara, and is at the heart of the museum’s first major exhibition, “Jews, an Italian Story. The First Thousand Years,” which examines the long and complex relationship between Rome and Jerusalem, Christianity and Judaism.”

More here.