German Museums Association publishes guidelines on collections with a colonial past

 This photo shows two ancient art objects packaged inside a box with foil on top. On the foil is a sticker of the "Humboldt Forum" as well as an inventory sticker.

The German Museums Association has published the final version of the practical guideline “Care of Collections from Colonial Contexts”. It supports museums working with their colonial legacy and starting a transparent and constructive dialogue about it - both in Germany and internationally. The publication is available in German, English and French.

The guidelines have been developed over four years by an interdisciplinary working group and the third and final version has been enriched by contributions from colleagues from Alaska, Australia, New Zealand and Tanzania. The guidelines were carefully discussed with experts from 11 societies of origin to ensure that their perspective is included.

German Minister of Culture Prof. Monika Grütters says: “To responsibly handle cultural goods from the countries of origin is of great importance for the honest discussion of the German colonial past. I would like to thank those responsible at the German Museums Association, for the fact that the German museums with the new guidelines have a practice-oriented tool for the care of their collections. An open attitude towards possible repatriations and a forward-looking, respectful understanding with the societies of origin are decisive here."

In a press release, the German Museums Association writes that the guidelines are an important tool for all museums since artefacts with a colonial past can be found in most museums – not only ethnological museums. Furthermore, the Association urges public funding agencies and cultural politicians to support museums in further implementing measures to come to terms with our colonial past.