The Marischal (pronounced “Marshall”) Museum is located at the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, Scotland. Last week, I met with Senior Curator Neil Curtis to discuss international repatriation and the roles Scottish Museums see themselves having in this process presently and in the future. While other museums in Scotland are just beginning to think about developing policies and procedures for international repatriation, the Marischal Museum and the University of Aberdeen have pushed beyond repatriating just human remains, which appears to have become the repatriation norm in international policy. They have adopted broader repatriation policies and procedures that also encompass sacred objects and could, arguably, include objects of cultural patrimony. These repatriation procedures seek to work on a community-to-community basis with indigenous peoples.
In addition to repatriation, the Marischal Museum has already begun to assist in cultural revitalization efforts. Last year, the Cherokee Heritage Center and the Marischal Museum put together a Cherokee beadwork exhibit which brought early beadwork designs to Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. This summer, members of Cherokee Nation will be going to Aberdeen to meet with curators, scholars and University officials as part of a cultural heritage tour.
Neil Curtis welcomes inquiries into the collections, as well as further discussions about both repatriation and cultural revitalization efforts. His contact information, the collections database and the repatriation policy are provided below:
University of Aberdeen
Aberdeen AB10 1YS
T: (+44) 01224 274304
F: (+44) 01224 274302
Photographed Collections: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/virtualmuseum/search.php
Full List of Collections (includes collections not photographed):
(Please be aware that human remains may be photographed in some of these databases.)
Note: Some of the collections have not been correctly identified. Therefore, I suggest searching by typing in “North America” and then limiting the search to the Marischal Museum. This can be done through the Advanced Search option.
Repatriation Policy. Please refer to Appendix I.
Preliminary Results of Tribes Identified within the Collection