Kwame Opoku – Germany Issues English Version of Guidelines on Dealing with Collections from Colonial Contexts

Germany Issues English Version of Guidelines on Dealing with Collections from Colonial Contexts.

‘The vicissitudes of history have nevertheless robbed many peoples of a priceless portion of this inheritance in which their enduring identity finds its embodiment…

The peoples who were victims of this plunder, sometimes for hundreds of years, have not only been despoiled of irreplaceable masterpieces but also robbed of a memory which would doubtless have helped them to greater self-knowledge and would certainly have enabled others to understand them better’. Amadou-Moktar M’Bow, former Director-General of UNESCO. (1)

The German Museums Association has issued recently Guidelines on Dealing with Collections from Colonial Contexts, an English version of the original German text. (2) We have already expressed our views on the original German text and therefore, will be brief on many issues since both the English and German versions have substantially, the same content. (3)

Readers will recall that the German text is a draft and so is the English text. Both will be submitted for comments and will be discussed at a workshop in October 2018 and thereafter in 2019 there will be another version. Would this be a final version or again another draft text? I wonder why the Germans have issued in English a draft of a document where the original German text is not yet final. Was there really a great need for this? We wonder how many English-speaking persons there are who are interested in following closely German developments in this area and do not read German. It would have been sufficient to provide an English version after the original German text had been finalized among German specialists. And what happened to the French version which was announced some time ago?

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