Brooklyn Museum Returns Extra Than 1,300 Artifacts to Costa Rica
The Museo Nacional de Costa Rica in San José stated that it had acquired 1,305 Pre-Columbian artifacts from the Brooklyn Museum in New York, in a bulk repatriation that officers on the museum stated would considerably increase its holdings.
Although the return was introduced solely final week, it happened in October 2020. Rocío Fernandez, the director of the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, stated that a few of the works would go on view in a gallery dedicated to Pre-Columbian artwork that’s at the moment being renovated.
The works got here to the museum from the gathering of Minor Cooper Keith, a tycoon lively through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries whose wealth got here from the banana-trading and railway companies in Costa Rica. Latest scholarship has centered on the exploitative practices relied upon by Keith’s companies; Dan Koeppel, the creator of a 2008 guide concerning the banana commerce, likened Keith’s staff to “slaves” in a 2020 interview with NPR.
Keith’s spouse donated the works to the Brooklyn Museum in 1934 after the enterprise mogul died. Some 16,000 artifacts in complete had been discovered on his Costa Rican plantations by him and his staff; round 4,500 ended up on the Brooklyn Museum.
Among the many objects despatched again in 2020 to Costa Rica are a tombstone, consuming utensils, and a lion-shaped metate—a stone used for grinding grains and seeds. A few of these artifacts date again a number of millennia. Costa Rica’s Nationwide Insurance coverage Institute paid $44,000 to ship the artworks from New York.
Sylvie Durán, the Costa Rican Minister of Tradition and Youth, stated, “The restoration of those archaeological items means recovering fragments of our previous that crossed our borders after we nonetheless didn’t have laws to forestall it.”
A spokesperson for the Brooklyn Museum didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
It isn’t the primary time the Brooklyn Museum has returned works from the Keith assortment to Costa Rica. In 2011, the museum despatched again 981 works from the gathering. On this case, the Nationwide Insurance coverage Institute additionally footed the invoice, paying $88,000 for the works’ cargo.
On the time, the Brooklyn Museum stated that the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica had not filed any claims for the Keith works. As an alternative, the Brooklyn Museum stated it was merely in search of to deaccession objects taking on area in its holdings.