Repatriation and the Penn Museum’s Alaska Collections by Penn Alumni

Date and Time
Thursday, December 10, 2020
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Dallas, TX
United States
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Join Penn Alumni for Repatriation and the Penn Museum’s Alaska Collections

The Penn Museum houses over one million objects from around the world. The American Section is the Museum's largest section and it contains numerous important collections from Alaska that provide glimpses into both the deep past and contemporary lifeways of Native people living in the region. The majority of these items were collected by researchers working on Museum-sponsored ethnographic and archaeological projects from 1905 through the mid-1970s and many are still used by researchers today to better understand and teach the public about Alaskan Native cultures. However, some of the objects in these collections remain sacred to Native people and, since the 1990s, the Museum has worked with Alaska Native groups to return some of these items to their home communities. In this talk, I will provide an introduction to the laws that mandate repatriation of museum collections and discuss the specific community collaborations that the Penn Museum has undertaken to determine the most appropriate future for the objects in its collections.

Megan Kassabaum is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Assistant Curator in the American Section of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on how Native American communities use and have used the natural landscape, and how they constructed their own through monumental architecture. She has worked on archaeological projects in Wisconsin, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, Peru, and throughout Mississippi, where she is currently directing an excavation. As a member of the Penn Museum's repatriation committee, she has worked with collections from Alaska including some objects that are now regularly used in cultural events by tribal members in and around Sitka.

Event Host: Penn Alumni
Date: Thursday, December 10
Time: 11:00 AM CT
Location: Virtual
Cost: FREE


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