Maori Art Search, Tufts University

Digital Repatriation Project: 100 Maori Artworks from 5 University Collections

 Maori Art Search, Tufts University  Digital Repatriation Project: 100 Maori Artworks from 5 University Collections

About the Project:

  • Role: Developer, Principal Researcher
  • Institutions: The 
Fleming 
Museum
 at 
the 
University 
of 
Vermont, 
the
 Yale 
Peabody 
Museum
 of 
Natural 
History, 
the 
Peabody 
Museum
 of 
Archeology 
and
 Ethnology 
at 
Harvard, 

the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University and 

the 
Hood 
Museum
 at 
Dartmouth 
College
  • Conference Presentations: “The Digitizing of Maori Cultural Heritage: Blurring the Boundaries of an Object, its Documentation, and its Distribution,” College Arts Association, 2013. “Digital Repatriation of Maori Cultural Heritage,” for session Heritage in the Age of Digital Humanities should training practices evolve? French National Archives Museum, 2012.

As part of my Master’s thesis on digital repatriation from Tufts University, I piloted a website project called “Maori Art Search.” The website focused on 100 Maori art works from five university collections in New England. These museums included: The Fleming Museum at the University of Vermont, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology at Harvard, the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University and the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College.

The main goal of the project was 
to
 explore 
the 
role
 of 
digital
 collaborative 
research 
as 
a 
way 
of connecting
 New 
Zealand 
students from
 
Gisborne 
New 
Zealand, 
to objects of 
their

 cultural
 heritage in museum collections abroad
. The
 project’s objective was 
to 
provide 
both
 a
 venue 
for 
open 
cross
 cultural
 dialogue
 and 
aid
 museums 
in 
their
 representation 
of 
Maori 
material.

Students contributed
 to
 the 
website 
in 
three 
ways:

  • By uploading 
video 
projects 
demonstrating the use of the art objects in
 contemporary 
practice.
  • By contributing to
 an 
ongoing 
threads 
of 
discussion
 about 
each 
work 
of 
art.
  • By curating 
virtual 
exhibitions 
using 
images 
from
 the
 database.

Through a Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Research Grant, I was able to travel to all of five museums, help photograph the collections, and create an in-house catalogue. The above video is a demo of the website project.