Stealing Culture: Repatriation of Human Remains in University Collections

University Museums and Collections Journal, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2019

Posted: 28 Feb 2021

See all articles by Nicole Crawford

Nicole Crawford

University of Wyoming Art Museum

Darrell Jackson

University of Wyoming - College of Law

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

What happens when a museum unknowingly, or knowingly, has human remains and/or related cultural objects in their collection? Who should be held accountable? What are some legal ramifications for keeping the objects versus the repatriation of these collections? How does the museum start the repatriation process?

Historically human remains have been an accepted part of university museum collections for research, teaching, and display. However, with a recent heightened awareness, and questions surrounding ownership of cultural objects, the discussion of repatriation, especially of human remains, is timely. Crawford and Jackson use the United States’ Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) as the framework for a discussion and formation of an international policy for repatriation of human remains and related cultural objects. They accomplish this by focusing the workshop’s discussion on the specific policies and procedures governing university museums as they deal with the issues of human remains within their collections.

As part of their long-term collaboration focusing on how criminal law can affect museums, Crawford brings specialized knowledge in museum policy and administration as well as a background in commercial art galleries and auction houses. Jackson brings specialized knowledge in the criminal justice system, criminal investigations, and policy analysis.

Keywords: NAGPRA, repatriation, university museums, criminal law, art law

JEL Classification: I23, I28, K39, K14, K19, K49

Suggested Citation

Crawford, Nicole and Jackson, Darrell, Stealing Culture: Repatriation of Human Remains in University Collections (2019). University Museums and Collections Journal, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3754089

Nicole Crawford (Contact Author)

University of Wyoming Art Museum ( email )

1000 E. University Ave.
Dept. 3807
Laramie, WY 82070
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.uwyo.edu/artmuseum/about_us/faculty-and-staff/nicole-crawford.html

Darrell Jackson

University of Wyoming - College of Law ( email )

1000 E. University Ave.
Dept. 3035
Laramie, WY 82071
United States
(307) 766-2899 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uwyo.edu/law/directory/darrell-jackson.html

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