Anthropologist on Pacific artifacts and how the tribal art market impacts local cultures.

Professor Haidy Geismar, an anthropologist, is an Assistant Professor in the Museum Studies Program and the Department of Anthropology of New York University. Her research interests are visual anthropology and material culture; cultural and intellectual property; digital technologies in relation to understandings of materiality, museum practices (collection, archiving, preservation and exhibition) and photography; new economic forms; and the anthropology of Oceania. She is editor of Material World.

Her tour is based in the Pacific Hall of the Rockefeller Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She will talk about the museum’s history of collection and display of Pacific artifacts and trace the background of the Rockefeller Collection. She will also provide a background to the tribal art market and discuss the way it works and the impact it has had on local cultures. This history will be juxtaposed with the ways in which museums in the Pacific now grapple with the legacy of ethnographic collection and the wholesale loss of artifacts to museums in far away places. She will cover recent controversies in cultural property claims and illegal trade in Pacific artifacts and muse on possible strategies for museums to ethically negotiate this terrain.

It was very interesting to learn how museum’s position art from source countries like at the MET.Stephanie, J.