One of the world’s most expansive anthropology and natural history collections was almost completely destroyed by a raging inferno this past Sunday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Museu Nacional (National Museum) housed nearly 20 million artifacts; including mummified remains, indigenous art and artifacts, frescoes from Pompeii, fossil records, dinosaur bones, and a scientific library. Read more
Over the past few years, there’s been a rash of aggressive police raids and legal action taken against artifact collectors and hobbyists. This has been part of a national effort to enforce laws prohibiting private citizens from illegally obtaining and collecting cultural artifacts―predominantly Native American artifacts. Read more
The question “who owns archaeological artifacts?” isn’t one that’s easily answered. The United States, and each state within, has its own laws concerning ownership rights to archaeological artifacts. Most of these laws, like the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, have a distinct year that separates which objects belong to the federal or state government, and which are permissible to be lawfully owned by the public. Read more
I recently stumbled upon an article that raised the question: “Is it ever okay for a museum to sell some of its works for financial reasons?” And the answer? Well, according to the American Alliance of Museums’ Code of Ethics, the answer is a murky yes―as long as the proceeds from the sale “are to be used consistent with the established standards of the museum’s discipline, but in no event shall they be used for anything other than acquisition or direct care of collections.” Institutions deemed to have violated AAM’s Code of Ethics risk losing accreditation. Not only that, but what message do such “sales” send to a museum’s financial donors and potential donors of artifacts, artworks, etc.? Read more
I’m an unabashed, American History enthusiast, and an obsessed collector of Civil War artifacts. To feed my insatiable appetite for history and Civil War relics, I regularly click thru the seemingly endless items offered for sale on online relic shops, visit the few that still operate brick-and-mortar stores, and attend Civil War artifact shows across the country. Read more
As an avid Civil War relic collector, I rely on numerous websites for research purposes and for acquiring new pieces for my collection. I would like to share a few of those with you; 9 of them to be exact. It’s my hope that you’ll discover (or rediscover) at least a few new sites to frequent after reading this post. Read more
So why do we collect stuff? There have been a few theories tossed around on the subject; and of course, psychological explanations as well. In fact, one needs to look no further than Sigmund Freud for such entertaining enlightenment.