Please join us for the talk “Unmasked! Museums, Transparency, the Public Trust, and Things from the Holy Land” given by Morag Kersel, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Museum Studies Minor at DePaul University. The talk will take place Wednesday, February 7 at 3:00 PM in Woods Hall, Room 1102.
Dr. Kersel is the third speaker for the 2017–2018 UMD Heritage Lectures series, co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology and the Program in Historic Preservation. Her work combines archaeological, archival, and ethnographic research in order to understand the efficacy of cultural heritage law in protecting archaeological landscapes. She co-directs the Follow the Pots Project (followthepotsproject.org), which traces the movement of Early Bronze Age pots from the Dead Sea Plains in Jordan. She is co-author (with Christina Luke) of U.S. Cultural Diplomacy and Archaeology (Routledge 2013) and a co-editor (with Matthew T. Rutz) of Archaeologies of Text: Archaeology, Technology and Ethics (Oxbow 2014).
Museums earn the public’s trust when they are seen as the authority on issues related to care, protection, interpretation, and provenance of the items in their collections. The public counts on the museum to act ethically and to be responsible and transparent in the presentation of the past – they place their trust in the organization. Recent exhibitions of artifacts from the Holy Land at institutions like the Royal Ontario Museum, The Israel Museum, and the Museum of the Bible allow for the examination of museums and public trust. This lecture will examine the differing strands of museum obligation – to the public, to students, to board members, the academic community, the country of origin, and ultimately to the archaeological record. Using the exhibition of things from the Holy Land as a lens we will investigate the politics of public display and the role of the museum.