Illinois State Museum returning artifacts to Australia

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(Souce: Illinois State Museum)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois State Museum in Springfield has agreed to return 42 culturally significant objects to Australia. The gesture comes nearly a century after they were brought to the United States.

The museum says in a news release that it’s the first institution in the world to repatriate artifacts as part of the Australian government’s Return of Cultural Heritage Project. It’s an attempt to bring back indigenous materials taken from the country.

Boomerangs, necklaces, shields, spears and other items that will be returned were collected in Australia between 1929 and 1931 by University of Chicago linguistic anthropologist Gerhardt Laves. They were transferred by the university to the state museum in 1942 for incorporation into its rotating exhibit series on international cultures. They haven’t been exhibited by the museum since 1981.

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