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If Antiquities Could Talk

A visit with Alex Barker, Director, Museum of Art and Archeology

By LuAnne Roth
Published: - Topics: anthropology archaeology glyphic inscription vessel vase

Museum Ethics (cont.)

Topics: museum ethics

As a museum director and archaeologist, one of Barker’s most pressing research agendas concerns ethics and the question of who owns the past. Although many objects in the museum’s collection predate modern acquisition guidelines, this remains a real concern for museum staff. Finding himself torn between competing and often contradictory claims to the past’s remnants, Barker struggles with how to ethically handle the acquisition of antiquities in a way that seeks to protect the archaeological record and the sovereignty of the countries from which the objects originate, but also to benefit the public today.