Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Call for Submissions: 2016 SAA Meetings in Orlando, Florida

Excavating the Museum: New Research on Old Collections (sponsored by the SAA Fiber Perishables Interest Group)

Organized by Maxine McBrinn and Laurie Webster

Abstract: Most anthropology or natural history museums have hidden treasures in their collections, materials collected but not published or inadequately published. Many of these collections have never been completely analyzed or described or been used to address in-depth research questions. These overlooked artifacts, many of which date to the early years of our profession, warrant reexamination using current theoretical approaches and research methods. In this symposium, presenters working with older archaeological research collections of textiles, baskets, footwear, cordage, and other perishable artifacts, as well as more durable materials, discuss their new findings and interpretations of these long-forgotten resources.


If you are interested in presenting a paper in the symposium, please send a title and 100 word abstract to Laurie Webster (ldwebster5@gmail.com) by AUGUST 10, 2015. Note that we may have to limit the number of participants.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

U.S. Repatriates 25 Looted Artifacts from Museum Collections to Italy

The New York Daily News & The Associated Press
May 26, 2015

The U.S. on Tuesday officially returned 25 artifacts looted over the decades from Italy, including Etruscan vases, 1st-century frescoes and precious books that ended up in U.S. museums, universities and private collections.

Italy has been on a campaign to recover looted artifacts, using the courts and public shaming to compel museums and collectors to return them, and has won back several important pieces.


The items Tuesday were either spontaneously turned over to U.S. authorities or seized by police after investigators noticed them in Christie's and Sotheby's auction catalogues, gallery listings, or as a result of customs searches, court cases or tips. One 17th-century Venetian cannon was seized by Boston border patrol agents as it was being smuggled from Egypt to the U.S. inside construction equipment, police said.

More here.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Paris Auction House Set to Sell More Sacred Objects

The Navajo-Hopi Observer
May 26, 2015

On May 12, the Hopi Tribe received notice from Eric Wilson, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) International Affairs Coordination, that the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France learned of another auction the EVE Auction House plans for June 1. 

Included in the auction catalog are objects of Native-American tribal origin. 

The Office of the Assistant Secretary, BIA, is once again assisting the U.S. Department of State in identifying U. S. tribal governments that seek assistance in communicating tribal governments' wishes regarding this scheduled auction. 

The Hopi Tribe has been vigorously asserted its tribal sovereignty and rights in the international arena and in Paris, France to protect objects sacred to the Hopi people; particularly the "Katsina Friends."

The Hopi Tribe is again requesting the support of Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake to direct the U.S. State Department, U. S. Department of Justice, F.B.I. and other federal agencies to assist the Hopi Tribe for a voluntary return of auction objects identified to be of Hopi origin to the Hopi Tribe. 


The Hopi Tribal Council has consistently directed its executive officers to pursue whatever means necessary to stop Katsina Friends from being illegally sold at auctions and forever lost in private collections. 

More here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Elgin Marbles Legal Action Ruled Out by Greece

BBC UK, 14 May 2015

Greece has ruled out taking legal action against the UK to reclaim the Elgin Marbles from the British Museum.

In an unexpected move, Greece's culture minister said the country would pursue a "diplomatic and political" approach to retrieving the sculptures instead.

In doing so, the country has rejected the advice of barrister Amal Clooney, who had urged Greece to take Britain to the International Court of Justice.

Lord Elgin acquired the Marbles from the Ottoman Empire 200 years ago. 

Greece insists the Parthenon Sculptures - as they are properly known - were taken illegally and has pursued a high-profile campaign in recent years for their return, latterly with the help of Mrs Clooney.

Mrs Clooney reportedly submitted a 150-page report to the Greek government this week urging it to formally request the repatriation of the marbles and take Britain to the International Court of Justice if it refused.

But Greece's culture minister Nikos Xydakis told the country's Mega TV: "One cannot go to court over whatever issue. Besides, in international courts the outcome is uncertain".

He said he believed attitudes to the future of the Marbles were slowly changing and would favour Greece in a diplomatic approach.

More here.

Friday, May 15, 2015

New Address and Design for Online Archive of Ivan Karp’s Publications

The online archive of Ivan Karp’s published papers has moved and gotten a new look! Emory University launched the popular online archive in 2012 in order to keep Karp’s (1943–2011) work widely available. Karp was a social anthropologist and a leading scholar of social theory, museum and heritage studies, and African studies. He began his long-term research with Iteso communities in western Kenya in 1969. Karp wrote extensively about power, personhood and agency, about African societies and systems of thought, and he published groundbreaking work about museums and exhibitions.

The updated Ivan Karp Archive includes new photos and links and a new homepage design. The archive organizes Karp’s papers thematically, with sections devoted to Social Theory and African Systems of Thought; Museums, Exhibitions and Public Scholarship; African Philosophy; and the Iteso People of Kenya. Important features include: a) downloadable links to Karp’s published papers; b) video clips from his presentations, including one on writing successful grant proposals; c) links to the finding guide for the Ivan Karp Collection at the National Anthropological Archives, where Karp’s fieldnotes and unpublished papers have been deposited; d) an In Memoriam section with a praise poem written about Karp in Kenya and audio from the memorial in his honor held at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in November 2011. The archive also includes complete lists of Karp’s books and of the works published in the two book series for which he served as editor: the African Systems of Thought series at Indiana University Press and the Smithsonian Series in Ethnographic Inquiry at Smithsonian Institution Press. The archive can be found online at http://halleinstitute.emory.edu/karp/index.html.


Karp was the National Endowment for the Humanities Professor at Emory University before his death in September 2011. He served previously as the Curator of African Ethnology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and as a professor at Indiana University and Colgate University. He founded the Center for the Study of Public Scholarship at Emory and for over a decade co-directed it with Corinne Kratz, fostering ongoing collaboration with colleagues in universities, museums, and other cultural institutions in South Africa through the Institutions of Public Culture program. The redesigned archive also features information about efforts to honor and continue Karp’s collaborative work in South Africa through the African Critical Inquiry Program, supported by gifts to the Ivan Karp and Corinne Kratz Fund.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Citing lack of funding, New York’s Museum of Biblical Art to close

RNS, David Van Biema
April 28, 2015
On the heels of what seemed like its greatest triumph — a magnificent display of sculptures by the Renaissance pioneer Donatello — a small but important museum in midtown Manhattan that specialized in religious art regarded with a neutrally secular eye announced Tuesday (April 28) that it was going out of business.

A press release from the Museum of Biblical Art, known as MOBIA, explained that after learning in February that the American Bible Society, which had housed it for a decade, was selling its building and moving to Philadelphia, the museum explored multiple options but could not raise the funds needed to keep going at a new location.

The museum will close to the general public on June 14 and cease operations on the 30th, although an exhibit it co-organized on Spanish colonial religious art will open in Palm Beach, Fla., in March next year.

More here.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Stolen Artifacts from Roman Museum Recovered

The Cairo Post
Apr. 28, 2015


All stolen artifacts from the the Greco-Roman Museum’s store in Alexandria were recovered Monday, head of the central administration for antiquities Youssef Khalefa announced.

Some 47 artifacts were stolen on Saturday, including a granite statute for a man and a woman, 31 metal coins of the Greco-Roman era and 15 pots and bottles used to store perfume, Khaleefa told Youm7.

The pieces have been placed in temporary storage until the re-inauguration of the museum after restoration work is completed. The store contains some 2,500 pieces.

Earlier on Monday, eight people allegedly involved in the theft were arrested and referred to prosecution. They will be detained for four days pending investigations.

Preliminary investigations into the incident showed damages to door locks of the store as well as other artifacts were broken.

Work at the museum was halted for five years due to political circumstances following the January 25 Revolution in 2011. The Minister of Antiquities recently stated that the total repairs at the museum will cost 10 million EGP ($1.3 million.)

More here.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Workshop: Native Language Documentation: Partnering with Museums

Native Language Documentation: Partnering with Museums
Dates: June 4 & 5, 2015
Location: Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona, Tucson
Registration fee: $200 ($100 for enrolled AILDI students)

Join Rosalyn LaPier (Blackfeet/M├ętis) as she shares her experience using museum collections to document language and create new learning materials. The hands-on workshop will show you how to develop a partnership with museums to increase your resources to engage language learners. Target audience: tribal language program directors; language teachers; tribal museum, library and archive personnel. 


To apply click here