Who owns the past? Cultural Policy, Cultural Property, and the Law

Bibliographic Information


Who owns the past? Cultural Policy, Cultural Property, and the Law


Fitz-Gibbon, Kate

Year of Publication


Chapter Pages


Publisher Name

Rutger's University Press in association with the American Council for Cultural Policy

Publisher Location

New Brunswick, NJ

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Source Type

Edited Volume


Book description:

Public and private institutions in the United States have long been home to a variety of art works, antiquities, and ethnological materials. For years, these collections have been seen as important archives that allow present and future generations to enjoy, appreciate, and value the art of all cultures. The past decade, however, has seen major changes in law and public policy and an active, ongoing debate over legal and ethical issues affecting the ownership of art and other cultural property.

Contributors to Who Owns the Past? include legal scholars, museum professionals, anthropologists, archaeologists, and collectors. In clear, nontechnical language, they provide a comprehensive overview of the development of cultural property law and practices, as well as recent case law affecting the ability of museums and private collectors to own art from other countries. Topics covered include rights to property, ethical ownership, the public responsibilities of museums, threats to art from war, pillage, and development, and international cooperation to preserve collections in the developing world.

Engaging all perspectives on this debate, Who Owns the Past? challenges all who care about the arts to work together toward policies that consider traditional American interests in securing cultural resources and respect international concerns over loss of heritage.

Rutger's Series of the Public Life of the Arts.

Chronology of cultural property legislation / Kate Fitz Gibbon
Cultural property, congress, the courts, and customs: the decline and fall of the antiquities market? / William G. Pearlstein
Indian givers / Steven Vincent
Immunity from seizure / Rebecca Noonan
Tale of two innocents: the rights of former owners and good-faith purchasers of stolen art / Ashton Hawkins, Judith Church
Schiele matter / Stephen W. Clark
Trial of the Sevso Treasure: what a nation will do in the name of its heritage / Harvey Kurzweil et al.
Art market in the United Kingdom and recent developments in British Cultural Policy / Anthony Browne, Pierre Valentin
Elgin marbles: a summary / Kate Fitz Gibbon
Hazards of common law adjudication / Jeremy G. Epstein

Collecting ancient art: a historical perspective / Margaret Ellen Mayo
Museums, antiquities, cultural property, and the US legal framework for making acquisitions / James Cuno
Expert and the object / Ronald D. Spencer
Building American museums: the role of the private collector / Shelby White
Editor's note: the illicit trade - fact of fiction? / Kate Fitz Gibbon
Antiquities market: when, what, where, who, why… and how much? / Arielle Kozloff
Dealers speak / edited by Peter Marks
ATADA: building ethical consensus through trade organization / Ramona Morris
Modern challenge to an age-old pursuit: can cultural patrimony claims and coin collecting coexist? / Peter K. Tompa, Ann M. Brose
Archaeology and the art market; Observations of a combatant / Clemency Chase Coggins
Art in jeopardy / Andrew Solomon
Improving the odds: preservation through distribution / André Emmerich
Subsistence diggers / David Matsuda

Licit international trade in cultural objects / John Henry Merryman
Alternatives to embargo / Kate Fitz Gibbon
Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust / Erich Theophile, Cynthia Rosenfeld
Acquisition and ownerhsip of antiquities in today's age of transition / Emma C. Bunker
Conclusion: Museums at the center of public policy / ACCP editorial board


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