2018-04-04Teil eines Buches DOI: 10.18452/19069
The Importance of Working with Communities
Combining Oral History, the Archive and Institutional Knowledge in Provenance Research. A Repatriation Perspective
Provenance research, whether it be in relation to objects or ancestral human remains, can be a daunting process for any museum curator. Knowing where to start, confirming accession information, and identifying the country, specific location, or even the communities/cultures of origin can seem too difficult a task to achieve at times. This contribution looks at the various types of research avenues I have ventured down in my role as repatriation researcher for the Karanga Aotearoa epatriation Programme at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. This includes oral and tribal histories, archival material, private and published material, and archaeological information. I also draw on my experiences as an anthropologist and archaeologist as well as an indigenous person and discuss the importance of working with communities in this type of research, especially with regard to collaboration and relationship building which in some countries like New Zealand is an integral part of a museum’s philosophy. Making contact with communities does not have to be a difficult process and there are many benefits to creating lasting relationships of this nature. Networks within the museum world are also very important, especially if your work seems isolating. Knowing there are other colleagues out there willing to provide support and knowledge not only nationally but also internationally can help. I will discuss the strong networks I have created over the years and share some of the positive outcomes.
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