Pressing Matter

Detail of RV-1684-11, a golden beaker used to contain holy water sprinkled during Hindu festivals and at temples. Taken in the aftermath of the Puputan (fight to the death) subsequent to the attack of Dutch forces in the Kingdom of Klungkung, Bali, in 1908. Courtesy of the National Museum of World Cultures, The Netherlands.

the Netherlands

Pressing Matter: Ownership, Value and the Question of Colonial Heritage in Museums is a four-year international research programme about colonial heritage and its legacies which started in 2021. It investigates the potentialities of ‘colonial objects’ to support societal reconciliation with the colonial past and its afterlives, and to deal with conflicting claims by different stakeholders for these objects within museums. The project will develop and test new modes and models of ownership, value and return that may enable more equitable futures.

It is financed by the Dutch National Science Agenda (NWA) and coordinated from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Partners are the National Museum of World Cultures, Museum Bronbeek, Museum Vrolik, Rijksmuseum, the museums of Utrecht University and Groningen University, Foundation Academic Heritage and the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Societal partners are Imagine IC, The Black Archives, HAPIN Papua Support Foundation, the Rijksakademie, Framer Framed and the Peace Palace Library, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands and DutchCulture.

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