Smithsonian Museum of African Art removes Benin bronzes from exhibition and plans to repatriate them
“I can confirm that we have removed the Benin bronzes that we had on display and are fully committed to the repatriation,” Blankenberg said. “We cannot build for the future without doing our best to heal the wounds of the past.”
The museum had exhibited 21 objects from the Kingdom of Benin earlier this year. Its online database lists 38 objects from Benin in the collection. About half were attributed to the British Punitive Expedition to Benin in 1897, including several commemorative plaques, heads and figures. The provenance research on other objects is still in progress.
Beninese objects are part of the collections of more than 160 museums around the world. Credit: Smithsonian National Museum of African Art