"We would not dispute that collections in the great Western museums have served as infinite sources of education, enjoyment, and awe for countless residents and tourists of these cities. There is even an argument to be made that more people across the world encounter and learn from these artifacts in a Western museum than would were they all returned to the sites of their creation. However, the purpose of a historical artifact is the rare insight it affords the world of the present into the world of the past, and the value of that insight depends upon a conversation between the object's current home and the site of its creation."The article expresses hope that Harvard will follow the example of its peer institution, Yale, which is now moving to create a jointly operated research center with the Peruvian government after a lawsuit called for the repatriation of certain Incan artifacts. They conclude, "We can only hope that Harvard's approach in the future will be one of active engagement with the cultures from which many of the artifacts in its museum were taken and that the Rubin case doesn't set a precedent of stifling discourse between East and West."
In a word, swoon. I could not have said this better myself. This article is so dead on, and I am so excited that it's been published by such a hugely influential college newspaper. My only frustration is that the byline simply says, "The Crimson Staff". WHO IS THIS PERSON? I WANT TO TALK TO YOU. EMAIL ME.