Last year, London’s Horniman Museum and Gardens announced plans of restituting the collection of bronzes sculptures looted from the ancestral altars of Benin City. Last April 07, city councils of Glasgow museums in which the 49 looted Benin objects documented for restitution by the Horniman Museum met and cast their votes of approval.
Touted as the largest act of restitution ever in Scottish history, the “Working Group for Repatriation and Spoliation” of Glasgow City Councils also okayed the return of 25 Lakota Native American cultural objects. The objects were taken in connection with the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre in South Dakota.
Where in Glasgow are the Benin Artefacts Displayed
The requested Benin bronzes, brass and ivory objects were stolen from the altars of the Royal Court of Benin in 1987 during the British Punitive Expedition. They were subsequently acquired by Glasgow City Council as bequests, gifts or bought from auction houses. Many of which are on display in Kelvingrove Museum, while some others are stored in the Glasgow Museums Resource Centre run by the charity group Glasgow Life, which operates the city museums.
As it is, the artefacts may still remain in the Glasgow museums but on a loan status, as the legal title will be transferred to the National Commission for Museums and Monuments of Nigeria (NCMM) until such time that actual transfer to Benin becomes practicable. The estimated costs to repatriate the artefacts is around £30,000,