Website of the German Lost Art Foundation

Additional field of activity "Cultural Goods from Colonial Contexts"

 Appropriate handling of cultural goods from colonial contexts is a highly topical and complex political area, even in Germany (see coalition agreement dated 07.02.2018). It embraces many intricate scientific, legal, political and ethical issues. In close connection and cooperation with national and international stakeholders and addressees, in particular the German Museums Association (Deutscher Museumsbund), the Foundation supports museums and research institutions in Germany. As specified by the Foundation Board, financial support will be available starting in 2019 primarily for research projects investigating the provenance of cultural goods from colonial contexts in public institutions in Germany. Basic research projects will also be included. Involvement of and cooperation with the communities of origin will be of special significance for this research. The research results collected in the Foundation’s research database (currently being set up) should be made transparent and accessible to as many interested parties and user groups as possible, particularly for scientific and research purposes. In this way, the Foundation shall gradually develop into a contact for matters relating to cultural goods from colonial contexts, as it already is for issues concerning Nazi-confiscated property and implementation of the Washington Principles.

 The Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media will provide the Foundation with the additional human and financial resources required for this new key area of activity. The Foundation is currently in the process of creating a specialized work unit (department), which from 2019 will be in charge of strategic-conceptual matters as well as funding of relevant projects. External interdisciplinary expertise is to be sought by both the Board of Trustees and a special funding committee for consultation on project applications. A specific funding guideline has already been drafted and discussed with the German Museums Association. This draws on the “Guidelines on Dealing with Collections from Colonial Contexts” from the German Museums Association published in spring 2018. The Foundation Board is scheduled to conclude the funding guideline and the funding committee in its next meeting in 2018.

This would fulfill all the prerequisites required to start funding the first projects in 2019 and to link and bundle information on cultural goods from colonial contexts in the German Lost Art Foundation.