Saturday, February 13, 2016

More than 500 Cultural Objects Returned to Ecuador

The Art Newspaper, Victoria Stapley-Brown
February 7, 2016

"Argentina and Spain have returned 567 heritage objects to Ecuador, the country’s minister of culture and heritage, Guillaume Long, announced at a press conference on 3 February. The formal handover took place in Quito, the country’s capital, in the presence of Argentina’s ambassador to Ecuador, Alberto Alvarez Tufillo, and the Cultural Counselor of the Spanish Embassy in Ecuador, Luis GarcĂ­a, who said: “The protection of the heritage goods is a pressing need, because they are unique and irreplaceable.” 

The objects, returned between December 2015 and January of this year, include colonial-era works, archaeological artefacts from indigenous cultures and two maps. Spain returned 71 works of art from the colonial-era Quito school and 58 other objects. Most of the 438 objects returned by Argentina were ceramics. According to local media, some of the restituted works will be shown at national museums.

The restitution process was overseen by the National Commission for the Fight Against Illicit Traffic of Cultural Property. Since its founding in 2010, the government bureau has been involved in the repatriation of 4,998 objects from abroad, according to an official statement by Ecuador’s ministry of culture and heritage, as well as 6,894 objects within the country. Guillame Long said that Ecuador is among the most active countries in recuperating stolen heritage."

More here.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

UNESCO's "Recommendation Concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, Their Diversity, and their Role in Society"

UNESCO recently adopted a new document outlining a "Recommendation Concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, Their Diversity, and their Role in Society." Below is an excerpt. Read the full document here.

"The General Conference,
Considering that museums share some of the fundamental missions of the Organization, as stipulated in its Constitution, including its contribution to the wide diffusion of culture, and the education of humanity for justice, liberty and peace, the foundation of the intellectual and moral solidarity of humanity, full and equal opportunities for education for all, in the unrestricted pursuit of objective truth, and in the free exchange of ideas and knowledge,
Also considering that one of the functions of the Organization, as laid out in its Constitution, is to give new impulse to popular education and to the dissemination of culture: by collaborating with Members, at their request, in the development of educational activities; by instituting collaboration among countries to advance the ideal of equality of educational opportunity without regard to race, gender or any distinctions, economic or social; and to maintain, increase and disseminate knowledge,
Recognizing the importance of culture in its diverse forms in time and space, the benefit that peoples and societies draw from this diversity, and the need to strategically incorporate culture, in its diversity, into national and international development policies, in the interest of communities, peoples and countries,
Affirming that the preservation, study and transmission of cultural and natural, tangible and intangible heritage, in its movable and immovable conditions, are of great importance for all societies, for intercultural dialogue among peoples, for social cohesion, and for sustainable development,
Reaffirming that museums can effectively contribute towards accomplishing these tasks, as stated in the 1960 Recommendation concerning the Most Effective Means of Rendering Museums Accessible to Everyone, which was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO at its 11th session (Paris, 14 December 1960),
Further affirming that museums and collections contribute to the enhancement of human rights, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular its Article 27, and in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in particular its Articles 13 and 15,
Considering museums’ intrinsic value as custodians of heritage, and that they also play an ever-increasing role in stimulating creativity, providing opportunities for creative and cultural industries, and for enjoyment, thus contributing to the material and spiritual well-being of citizens across the world,
Considering that it is the responsibility of every Member State to protect the cultural and natural heritage, tangible and intangible, movable and immovable, in the territory under its jurisdiction in all circumstances and to support the actions of museums and the role of collections to that end,

Noting that a body of international standard-setting instruments – adopted by UNESCO and elsewhere – including conventions, recommendations and declarations, exists on the subject of the role of museums and collections, all of which remain valid,i
Taking into account the magnitude of socio-economic and political changes that have affected the role and diversity of museums since the adoption of the 1960 Recommendation concerning the Most Effective Means of Rendering Museums Accessible to Everyone,
Desiring to reinforce the protection provided by the existing standards and principles referring to the role of museums and collections in favour of cultural and natural heritage, in its tangible and intangible forms and to related roles and responsibilities,
Having considered proposals on the Recommendation concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Society,
Recalling that a UNESCO recommendation is a non‐binding instrument that provides principles and policy guidelines addressing different stakeholders,
Adopts this Recommendation on the 17th of November 2015.
The General Conference recommends that Member States apply the following provisions by taking whatever legislative or other measures may be required to implement, within their respective territories under their jurisdiction, the principles and norms set forth in this Recommendation."

Monday, February 08, 2016

The Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History


The Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology (SIMA) is a research training program offered by the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History with major funding from the Cultural Anthropology Program of the National Science Foundation. The program seeks to promote broader and more effective use of museum collections in anthropological research by providing a supplement to university training. Each summer SIMA supports 10-12 graduate students who want to use collections in their research. Using Smithsonian collections, experts, and visiting faculty, SIMA:
  • introduces students to the scope of collections and their potential as data
  • provides training in appropriate methods to collect and analyze museum data
  • makes participants aware of a range of theoretical issues relating to collections
  • positions students to apply their knowledge within their home university
The curriculum, including both seminars and hands-on workshops, teaches students how to navigate museum systems, select methods to examine and analyze museum specimens, and recognize the wealth of theoretical issues that museum data can address.

Resident Smithsonian faculty include Dr. Candace Greene and Dr. Joshua Bell
Visiting faculty for 2016 include Dr. Ira Jacknis (Berkeley) and Dr. David Odo (Harvard)

For more information on SIMA click here
Deadline: 1 March 2016
SIMA 2016 dates: June 27, 2016 – July 22, 2016

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Minneapolis Instiute of Art

The Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture will build the collection through significant acquisitions, and raise Mia’s profile through ambitious and intellectually rigorous exhibitions, gallery rotations, publications, and programs. This dynamic and experienced curator will cultivate relationships with donors, professional colleagues, partner organizations and the community at large in furtherance of Mia’s strategic goals.

In this role, you will…
  • be responsible for the overall care of the collection, the display and didactic program within the galleries, and the development of special exhibitions.
  • work closely with collectors and prospective donors.
  • develop programming for the museum’s Decorative Arts, Textiles and Sculptures Affinity Group.
  • be an engaged and proactive member of the Department of Decorative Arts, Textiles and Sculpture, who subscribes to the museum’s positive culture and is dedicated to enhancing the visitor’s experience.
Specific Requirements
  • Master’s degree (Ph.D. strongly preferred).
  • Minimum of five years of curatorial and curatorial management experience.
  • Strong record of research and scholarship, with proven experience organizing exhibitions and producing publications of high quality.
  • Demonstrated skill at strategically building a collection through gift and purchase.
  • Strong budget, exhibitions, programs and strategic planning experience and demonstrated skills in those areas.
  • Excellent planning, organizational and project management skills.
  • Team player with proven ability to work effectively and positively with staff, trustees, and all other internal and external contacts.
  • Ability to build positive and effective relationships with donors and the broader community.
Who You Are
You have a passion for art and are an enthusiastic advocate for all things Mia. You are creative and open minded with positive and effective communication skills. You strive for self-awareness and leave the drama in the artwork. You give praise freely and seek to learn and grow.
You’re good at and enjoy…
  • Recognizing the value in others’ unique perspectives.
  • Knowing your success is directly related to visitor satisfaction.
  • Setting challenging goals and achieving them.
  • Taking advantage of promising opportunities.
Mia Culture
The Minneapolis Institute of Art is an audience-focused workplace where everyone strives to provide excellent service and cultivate honest and positive relationships. Generosity, agility, emotional intelligence, positive energy, and driving results are the core values that define Mia’s culture. Successful employment at Mia includes full embrace and demonstrable indicators of these values by all team members.

To Apply
A complete application includes a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, and three letters of recommendation. Please send the letter and curriculum vitae to Please also ask references to send letters of recommendation directly to

Posting Deadline
Deadline for submissions is Friday, February 26, 2016.
Diversity creates a healthier atmosphere: All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, protected veteran status, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law.


Saturday, February 06, 2016

Associate Curator for Public Programs, Amerind Museum, Dragoon, Arizona

The Amerind Foundation of Dragoon, Arizona, seeks a dynamic individual to serve as Associate Curator for Public programs. Under the supervision of the Chief Curator and working with senior museum staff, the Associate Curator for Public Programs will have primary responsibility for developing, scheduling, implementing, promoting, marketing, and evaluating the Foundation’s programs, tours, events, and workshops that complement Amerind’s research and exhibition programs and will engage communities throughout the Greater Southwest and northwest Mexico.

The successful candidate will be a creative thinker capable of conceptualizing and implementing a wide range of public programs, as well as advertising and promoting those programs.

Current programs include workshops, cultural festivals, lectures, symposia, scholar and artist residencies, tours,  and gallery openings. The Associate Curator for Public Programs will assist with and plan museum exhibitions as well. The successful candidate will be expected to use a variety of media to promote Amerind’s activities, including updating Amerind’s website and engaging the public through social media and face-to-face outreach.

For more info please click here.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Curatorial Residency at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution

The National Museum of the American Indian seeks applications for six-to-nine month paid residencies, with opportunities for extensions of up to twelve months, for entry-level Native American museum professionals interested in pursuing museum careers or those early in established careers who feel they would benefit from a residency at NMAI.  A successful candidate will demonstrate commitment to the museum profession through academic preparation, experience with paid or volunteer work at museums or community cultural centers, experience with exhibitions and/or collections research, and/or a track record of community-based scholarship.  The Curatorial Resident will join the staff of NMAI's Museum Scholarship group or Collections Management and will be assigned projects under the supervision of NMAI staff.  Residents will enjoy all the privileges and responsibilities of NMAI professional staff and work assignments will be created to assist with the development of professional skills necessary to the curatorial or collections management professions.

Applications should include: 1) complete curriculum vitae or professional resume; 2) a letter of support from an academic or community-based sponsor or mentor. 3) an essay of no more than 1200 words describing: a) the candidates career goals for museum work; b) what the candidate hopes to gain from the residency experience; and c) why the NMAI in particular can play an important role in the candidates career development. Consideration will be given to candidates who can demonstrate how their experience will benefit their communities.

Compensation for the Residency will be competitive with entry-level museum appointments in the Washington, D.C. area, accompanied by a benefits package including health insurance.  The Residency includes travel funds for professional development and participation in professional conferences, to be determined in consultation with supervision.  Candidates must be American citizens.

Send applications to: Patricia Scott, Cultural Resources Center, 4220 Silver Hill Road, Suitland, MD 20746-2863  

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Council for Museum Anthropology's Lifetime Achievement/Distinguished Service Award

The Council for Museum Anthropology’s Lifetime Achievement/Distinguished Service Award recognizes CMA members whose extraordinary careers (lasting 20 years or more) have advanced museum anthropology through collections work, collaborations, exhibitions, publications, public programming and outreach, teaching, and/or policy development. This award is meant to recognize those who have truly helped to define and/or reshape the field. Nominees are expected to have spent at least 20 years working in the field of museum anthropology.

Nomination packets (maximum 5 pages) must include: a nominating letter that demonstrates the nominee’s qualifications and contextualizes and summarizes their signature accomplishments; and relevant supporting materials (e.g., nominee’s c.v., other support letters). Nominations must be submitted as digital data (Word documents, pdf files and/or jpg files), sent via email to arrive on or before the deadline. Email all three members of the Awards Committee:
Gwendolyn Saul (, 
Joshua Bell ( 
Karl Hoerig (

Evaluation Criteria: 1) Impact: How has the nominee’s work transformed the discipline of museum anthropology (e.g., theory, methodology, influence); 2) Service: What service has the nominee provided to specific museums (e.g., collections, exhibits, public outreach); 3) Mentoring: How has the nominee influenced and inspired the careers of students and colleagues (e.g., mentorship, curriculum development, innovative teaching)?

Lifetime Award recipients will be formally recognized at the CMA Reception during the AAA Annual Meeting. They will be presented with a gift from CMA and a certificate of the award. Award winners will be notified by August 15 so they have sufficient time to make travel arrangements.

Deadline: May 15, 2016

Monday, February 01, 2016

US Museum Returns Looted Artefacts to Thailand

Bangkok Post
January 25, 2016

A US museum has returned to Thailand 83 ancient artefacts following an American government investigation found it had received looted cultural treasures.
Culture Minister Vira Rojpojchanarat said he had been informed by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, via the Fine Arts Department, that the artefacts from Mingei International Museum in San Diego, California had arrived at the National Museum's warehouse in Pathum Thani province.
Examining the returned items, the Fine Arts Department found they were prehistoric objects from archaeological sites in the Northeast, mostly Ban Chiang -- a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- dated between 1,500 and 5,000 years old.
They include pottery, bronze bracelets, bronze axes, shell earrings, beads and rings.
Mr Vira said he had instructed the department to hold an exhibition of these priceless ancient objects for the public.
The museum was told by the US Attorney General in March last year to return the artefacts found in a high-profile 2008 federal investigation into allegations the museum had received looted cultural treasures. They had been in the museum's vaults for the last seven years.
More here.