B.C., Czech museums, Indigenous groups work to find cultural treasures abroad

B.C., Czech Republic, to track First Nations art

VICTORIA — Museum officials in British Columbia and the Czech Republic have signed an agreement to better track First Nations artifacts held beyond provincial borders.

The deal was signed between the Royal BC Museum in Victoria and the Narodni museum in Prague.

A release from the Royal BC Museum says the pact aims to build understanding of First Nations materials in both institutions’ collections, as the museums share expertise and best practices.

The agreement will focus on Pacific North-West Coast collections by sharing information about cultural heritage, easing the arrangement of visits by Indigenous groups and possibly producing a joint publication.

The British Museum and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa recently reached a similar arrangement that led to the comprehensive cataloguing of Maori artistic creations held in the British Museum’s collections.

Officials with the Royal BC Museum say the memorandum with the Czech Republic is a landmark agreement for the world-leading museums.

“This is the first stage in an ambitious plan to ‘map out’ a database of cultural treasures from British Columbia held by international museums,” said Royal BC Museum CEO Prof. Jack Lohman.

He said the pilot project with the Czech museum is the first opportunity for First Nations and the Royal BC Museum to study, catalogue, and share knowledge of valuable collections held abroad.



The Canadian Press

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