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Stewardship for the World's Antiquities?

Hugh Eakin has written a thoughtful response to James Cuno's two new books, Who Owns Antiquity? and Whose Culture?, in the New York Review of Books ("Who Should Own the World's Antiquities?", 56, 8, May 14, 2009). Eakin maps out the changes that have taken place since the 2002 "Declaration on the Importance and Value of Universal Museums", supported by key North American and European museum directors.

Among the changes have been the return of well over 100 antiquities to Italy from AAMD member institutions, and the Rome trial of a North American curator.

Eakin presents Cuno as out of touch:
And yet, not only does he not share the younger generation's changing attitude toward the antiquities market; he seems in many ways even less accommodating toward foreign governments than the old guard.
Eakin is also critical of the content of Cuno's work:
He also expends little effort confronting unscrupulous behavior by museums that has helped give the recent restitution claims such force.
I am also interested that Eakin detects a move in Cuno's thinking from "ownership" (clearly reflected in the title of the single-authored book) to "stewardship", an emphasis which I have suggested elsewhere is much more in keeping with the position of the archaeological community.

My copy of Whose Culture? is in the post ....

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