The Smithsonian Museum of African Art recently announced its intent to repatriate Benin Bronzes to Nigeria. Similar news stories of returning “stolen” or “removed” items of historical and cultural value are becoming more common.
Stories covering repatriation of belongings by colonial institutions back to their communities of origin tend to go two ways. They contemplate the opinions surrounding and the legal frameworks involved in returning such belongings. Or they challenge our perceptions of colonial institutions like museums.