Leiden’s Natural History Museum, Naturalis, is now facing claims from Indonesia that it should return the Dubois fossil collection (which includes the famous Java Man fossils, and thousands of other pieces found and taken away from colonial Indonesia). With this claim, discussions about the repatriation of colonial era artifacts have entered the domain of natural history. What does that mean for the future of the natural history museum? To explore Indonesia’s claim, this talk focuses on how colonial natural history collections are and how they differ (or don’t) from ethnographical or art collections. What can the natural history museums do to address the legacy of the colonial past?
In today’s History of Science event, Fenneke Sysling will give us historical background, while Udo Pesch will respond from a contemporary scientific perspective. There will be room for all of us to ask questions as well, and we invite you to stay for drinks.