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.