Machu Picchu

Topics: Machu Picchu, Inca Empire, Yale University Pages: 6 (1981 words) Published: March 7, 2013
The controversy between the collections of Machu Picchu and Yale University

How can society educate individuals about the different cultures, as well as the history they left behind? Society teaches individuals by displaying the works in a museum, in which educates individuals about a cultures history. Museums are able to preserve, protect, educate, as well as display the collection in order for individuals to understand more about that culture. Even though the priority of a museum is to share the cultures historical background, most cultures find it offensive about how these objects are being displayed as well as the fact that these objects have been stolen from them. This particular problem is seen between the Peruvian citizens and Yale University, about how the collections should be given back to the people or stay with the University. These collections at Yale University are doing a specific job by educating individuals, although they are still considered to be known as stolen pieces. I will be taking a position from my knowledge about museums, and arguing the fact that these collections should be returned to the Peruvian people.

The controversy that has been going on for years between the Peruvian citizens and Yale University, all started with a young archeologist named Hiram Bingham. Hiram Bingham was a young archeologist who worked for Yale University. When he began to hear many stories about the lost cities in Peru, he decided to take a trip to visit these cities. The Peruvian government had a law on the Inca artifacts, whatever was taken from them had to be given back within two years. Now this is where the controversy begins. Hiram Bingham stole many artifacts from Machu Picchu, that were documented and then sent to Yale University. Yale University signed an agreement stating how in two years they would return everything to the citizens of Peru. Of course we all know that this never happened, and the Peruvian government sued Yale University for stealing the treasures of Machu Picchu. This controversial battle continues to go back and forth with Yale University winning the lawsuit battles, and the citizens of Peru just wanting their treasures back. With this information in mind, who has the right to claim that these collections are theirs?

I believe that when museums collects different items, there should be a settlement agreement between the museum and that specific area for taking/keeping the objects. I disagree with the fact that a museum can claim that they own the objects, even though legally they don't. According to James Cuno in his article "Museums, Antiquities, Cultural Property, and the US Legal Framework for Making Acquisitions", he speaks about how there shouldn't be lawsuits between the museums and the people of that culture. Even though I am arguing with the statement how Yale University should return the collections to Peru, I do agree with the statements that James Cuno stated in his article.

James Cuno stated "Museums have an important role to play in this regard. Those that include works of art from multiple time periods and cultures have the opportunity and obligation to present their visitors with experiences that encourage looking for connections between apparently disparate works and cultures rather than reaffirming distinctions that are often....the result of ideological fictions"(Cuno, page 145). I agree with this statement do to the fact that a museums main purpose is to present individuals with an educating experience. In the article he states that objects aren't owned by one country or cultural group, it is owned by everyone. If museums keep listening to every lawsuit and giving back all the objects, there won't be anything for individuals to endure. The reason why I disagree with James Cuno, is that if the objects have a legally signed agreement stating that they are allowed to keep objects for a certain amount of time or they are able to keep them, the agreement...
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