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Summer 2022

Coming Home. The Natural History Museum of Vienna (NHM) is returning two skulls, which belonged to a Hawaiian man and woman from the colonial era to the United States. An English adventurer, William Green, had stolen them from a grave in the 19th century, after which the skulls were sold and were part of a collection in the U.K. They then made their way to Vienna and were donated to NHM at the time. With the returning of the skulls, NHM aims at recognizing the moral and ethical injustices in the colonial period caused by their ruthless collecting practices.

Museums to label Nazi looted art in New York. In summer of 2022, New York passed a legislation that requires museums in the state of New York to disclose whether objects in their collections were looted by Nazis in Europe during the Second World War. Any exhibited artwork that changed hands due to “theft, seizure, confiscation, forced sale, or other involuntary means” during World War II and the run-up to that conflict must be accompanied by a wall label or placard detailing its history. Anna Kaplan, the state senator who sponsored the legislation stated that the law would “empower” the art community to be more accountable. The regulation, signed into law by Governor Hochul is a part of a trifecta of legislation to educate New York on the Holocaust and support survivors.