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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Ancient Asante Kingdom’s Royal Artifacts Repatriated from U.S. Museum

Royal artifacts looted from Ghana's Asante kingdom during British colonization find their way back from a United States museum, marking a symbolic act of restitution and highlighting the evolving role of museums in addressing historical injustices.

In a historic moment, seven royal artifacts looted 150 years ago from Ghana’s ancient Asante kingdom and housed in a United States museum were returned and presented to the kingdom on Thursday. The artifacts, including an ornamental chair and gold stool ornaments, were looted during the 19th century British colonization of Ghana and later transferred to the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles.

 Treasured Artifacts Find Their Way Back

The return of these artifacts marks a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts of African countries to repatriate stolen treasures.

The artifacts, symbolizing prestige and reverence for the Asante ruler, were received by the kingdom on the 150th anniversary of the looting, commemorating a painful chapter in Asante history.

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Kwasi Ampene, a lecturer involved in the negotiations, expressed that the repatriation signifies “the return of our souls,” highlighting the emotional and cultural significance attached to these items.

Museum’s Ethical Responsibility

The Fowler Museum, acknowledging its ethical responsibility, facilitated the unconditional and permanent return of the artifacts to Ghana.

Silvia Forni, the museum’s director, emphasized the evolving role of museums as custodians with ethical obligations to the communities of origin.

This act of restitution reflects a global shift in museum practices towards recognizing and addressing historical injustices, setting a precedent for future repatriation efforts.