A renowned museum in New York City is shutting down two exhibition halls dedicated to Native American culture, following the lead of other institutions.

A renowned museum in New York City is shutting down two exhibition halls dedicated to Native American culture, following the lead of other institutions.

The American Museum of Natural History is closing two exhibition halls featuring Native American culture.

The American Museum of Natural History is closing two exhibit halls dedicated to Native American history.

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City

“Two exhibits showcasing Native American artifacts will be closing.”

Beginning on Saturday, there will be recognition that the displays are “significantly out of date” and contain objects that may be culturally sensitive.

The massive building located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, facing Central Park, is the most recent American establishment to conceal or eliminate.Native American exhibits

In order to adhere to updated federal rules regarding the exhibition of Native American remains and artifacts.

In October, the museum announced its plans to remove all human remains from public exhibition and eventually discontinue their display.repatriating as much as it could to Native American tribes and other rightful owners.

The Field Museum in Chicago featured multiple exhibits showcasing Native American artifacts. In response to this, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University has announced their plans to remove all Native American burial objects from their displays. The Cleveland Museum of Art has also followed suit and implemented similar measures.

Shannon O’Loughlin, the leader of the Association on American Indian Affairs, a national organization that has consistently advocated for museums to adhere to federal regulations, expressed appreciation for these advancements. However, she emphasized that the ultimate measure of success will be the fate of the items that have been removed.

She stated that the objective is not to hide or remove displays, but rather to repatriate objects to their respective tribes. This is just a small aspect of a larger process.

A museum visitor looks at Native American clothing items and headpieces on display behind glass.

The American Museum of Natural History is shutting down two significant exhibits showcasing artifacts from Native American cultures due to recent government mandates requiring consent from indigenous tribes.

CBS New York

Todd Mesek, a representative for the Cleveland Museum of Art, stated that the museum is currently seeking approval from Native American communities before displaying certain items. They are also examining historical documents to see if any previous agreements have been made.

According to a representative from Harvard, Jason Newton, the Peabody museum is dedicated to repatriating all ancestral remains and funerary items. In recent months, the number of employees working toward this goal has more than doubled. Additionally, the museum has stated that it will cover the costs for tribal members to travel to campus as part of the repatriation process.

The updated rules, issued by the U.S. Department of the Interior in December, pertain to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990. The revisions involve additional obligations to consult and obtain approval from tribes for displaying and studying Indigenous items, such as human remains, burial objects, and culturally significant artifacts.

Native American communities have frequently expressed dissatisfaction with the prolonged process of repatriating hundreds of thousands of culturally significant artifacts from museums, colleges, and other institutions.

According to O’Loughlin, the act of repatriation can only be exempted if a museum or institution can provide evidence of consent when the item was initially acquired. However, this is often difficult for institutions to prove as these items and remains were typically obtained through acts of violence, theft, and looting.

In the letter, Decatur stated that instead of just hiding or getting rid of items in the Eastern Woodlands and Great Plains Halls, which will be closing this weekend, the choice was made to close them completely due to their outdated nature.


A display that is covered at the Field Museum.


In other areas of the museum, certain exhibits, such as those featuring Native Hawaiian artifacts, will be concealed, according to the speaker.

Decatur recognized that the closures will lead to the temporary halt of school field trips to these locations. The Eastern Woodlands Hall, specifically, has been a popular destination for students from the New York area to learn about Native American culture in the Northeast.

The museum continues to show its dedication to promoting the education of Indigenous cultures, according to Decatur. Officials are currently examining the recently implemented federal regulations to determine their potential impact.

O’Loughlin, from the Association on American Indian Affairs, stated that there is not as much ambiguity as museum authorities may claim.

She stated that the updated rules are very straightforward. They do not forbid research or showcasing of indigenous cultural artifacts. They simply require obtaining consent beforehand.

Source: cbsnews.com