This book examines contemporary approaches to restitution from the perspective of museums. It focuses on the ways in which these institutions have been addressing the subject at a regional, national and international level. In particular, it explores contemporary practices and recent claims, and investigates to what extent the question of restitution as an issue of ownership is still at large, or whether museums have found additional ways to conceptualise and practice restitution, by thinking beyond the issue of ownership. The challenges, benefits and drawbacks of recent and current museum practice are explored. At the same time, the book discusses how these museum practices are received , and informed, by source communities, institutional and governmental agendas and visitors' expectations in order to explore issues of authority, collaboration and shared or conflicting values between the different communities involved in the process. This important book will contribute to the developing body of literature that academics, professionals, policy makers and students can refer to in order to understand how restitution has been negotiated, 'materialised', practiced and evaluated within museums.
Louise Tythacott is Dr Pratapaditya Pal Senior Lecturer in Curating and Museology of Asian Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and was previously Lecturer in Museology at the University of Manchester. She has worked in the museum field for over a decade, latterly as Head of Asian, African, Oceanic and American Collections at National Museums Liverpool. She has published widely on the relationship between museums and anthropology: her books include Surrealism and the Exotic (2003) and The Lives of Chinese Objects: Buddhism, Imperialism and Display (2011). She is also a Managing Editor of the journal, Museum and Society. Kostas Arvanitis is Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Museology at the University of Manchester, UK. His research crosses the fields of museology, archaeology and digital heritage. He has published on the theory and practice of digital, social and mobile media in museums and the interpretation of archaeological sites in urban environments.