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National Cultural Institutions

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 November 2021

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Questions (229)

Ivana Bacik

Question:

229. Deputy Ivana Bacik asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if a museum, gallery or collections under her aegis or held by bodies funded by her Department hold artefacts or exhibits claimed by other nations; if so, if she will list these items; the locations in which they are held; and the nation that seeks their return. [58190/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

I am not aware of any museum, gallery or collections under the aegis of my Department, or bodies funded by my Department, in respect of which there are artefacts or exhibits claimed by other nations.

In keeping with international best practice, cultural institutions under the aegis of my Department have carefully developed policies in relation to the care and management of the national collections, including ethical considerations with respect to the acquisition, holding and exhibition of historic artefacts.

While the National Museum of Ireland (NMI) does not have any outstanding contemporary claims on objects within the ethnographical collection of the institution it is participating in the Digital Benin project, which includes officials from Nigeria as well as museums from across Europe and North America. The project will bring together all Benin holdings worldwide, historical photographs, archival materials, eyewitness accounts, publications and oral traditions to create an internationally accessible information catalogue. While the NMI has not received any specific restitution requests in relation to this material since commencement of the work, a process of conservation and photography of this material is underway in order to enable the Digital Benin project and any attendant opportunities.

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