• Repatriation
  • Participants share their thoughts in a roundtable discussion at the end of the Repatriation/Restitution/Reparation symposium.

  • Artist Shanta Lee Gander presents at the Repatriation/Restitution/Reparation symposium.

  • The panel discussion at the Repatriation/Restitution/Reparation symposium included Gina Borromeo, Christopher Kojzar, Andrea Rosen, Sherwood Smith, and Vicki Brennan.

 

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Fleming Museum’s Repatriation/Restitution/Reparation Symposium. We learned from the events that the call to return looted objects, and to do more to shift resources back to communities that were devastated by violent colonialism and continue to be impacted by racism, is strong, especially on the part of UVM students, who want to stay informed and involved in the process. We are reaching out to those who signed up to attend the symposium in order to update you on the steps the museum is taking in response to the conversation. At the end of this message you will find a link to a questionnaire in which you will be able to record your responses to the conversations that took place, and to register how you would like to stay involved in the process.

Following what we learned at the symposium, the Fleming Museum is:

  • Creating a proposal to formally remove from the collection the Benin Head of a Queen Mother in order to be prepare for its return. To do this, we are consulting with our Board Collections Committee, legal authorities, our colleagues in other museums, and members of our community. We would like to gather testimonials to support the return of the Benin head. If you would like to provide such a testimonial, please indicate your willingness to write such a testimonial in the questionnaire or indicate your permission for us to use your comments in support of the proposal. 
  • Creating advisory councils of students, faculty, and community members to guide our repatriation and restitution work going forward. Such groups may be involved in selecting new acquisitions of artworks by Black and Indigenous artists and rethinking the Museum’s collecting and display practices, among other efforts to make the Museum a more just and equitable institution. Please indicate in the questionnaire your interest in participating in this work.
  • Building collaborative relationships with communities who have been excluded from Museum decisions in the past.
  • Identifying ways that the Museum can be more transparent about the work that it is currently undertaking toward repatriation of objects and to make the histories of our collections public and accessible, in order to spur further institutional examination of restitution.
  • Planning a follow-up event in Spring 2022 that will explore forms of restitution and reparations that extend beyond the return of objects. This event will be a screening of the film “White Cube,” followed by a panel discussion of artists, scholars, and community members.

Recordings of the two keynote lectures from the symposium can be viewed below:

KEYNOTE LECTURE: “The Brutish Museums” with Dan Hicks

KEYNOTE LECTURE: “Benin 1897: Artist Intervention & the Restitution Issue” with Peju Layiwola

We will continue to keep you updated on this process as it moves forward. Please let us know if and how you would like to continue to be involved by completing the questionnaire linked below. You will also be able to record your further responses or comments on the events and issues raised at the symposium.

Collections

 

The Fleming Reimagined: Dismantling Historical Oppression and Confronting Institutional Racism

The staff at the Fleming Museum have been reckoning with how to become an anti-racist museum that’s more responsive, relevant, and inclusive. We want to know what you think about our ongoing conversations about our values and priorities.

Read the Full Statement

 

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