Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Notions of Public and Private Property in the Cultural Property Realm:

Kimberley Alderman reports from a legal conference in Honolulu (' Notions of Public and Private Property in the Cultural Property Realm: A Report from Oahu and in particular a paper by Betina Kuzmarov on the Parthenon Marbles. There she outlined the four basic categories of arguments that people make to support the retention of the Marbles in the London Museum as follows:
  1. The acquisition argument – was the acquisition legal or not?;
  2. The preservation argument – deals with saving the Marbles for the world;
  3. The museums argument – it would be dangerous to move them, or they are better off in a museum; and
  4. The objects argument – there is a monetary value to the Marbles and they are mere property.
I thought this is quite an interesting manner to set out the argument, not just for publicly-curated objects in museums, but dugup antiquities now in private ownership. The acquisition  – was the process of the object coming onto the market legal or not? The preservation argument – are objects in private collections as well curated as those in good public collections with proper storage conditions, dedicated conservation and collection documentation departments? Is scattering them in ephemeral and poorly-documented collections the best way to 'keep' these items? Are they mere property and the fat guy with the most dollars gets to say what happens to the archaeological heritage?

It is clear to me that in the debates on cultural property, we need to differentiate much more strictly between the way the arguments offered by the pro-collecting lobby are applicable to different degrees to public and private "property".

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.