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Heritage 2019, 2(1), 390-399; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage2010027

Documentation: A Security Tool for the Identification and Repatriation of Illicitly Trafficked Objects from Museums with Particular Reference to the National Gallery of Zimbabwe

Midlands State University, Department of Archaeology, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies, Senga Road, Gweru P.Bag 9055, Zimbabwe
Received: 21 December 2018 / Revised: 21 January 2019 / Accepted: 23 January 2019 / Published: 28 January 2019
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Abstract

The aim of the study was to ascertain how documentation assisted in the recovery of stolen and illicitly trafficked objects at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. The research objectives were to: Assess the adequacy of the gallery’s documentation system; appraise the documentation elements that were key in the tracking and repatriation of stolen objects to the gallery; analyze the gallery’s networks on the documentation and safeguarding of objects against theft; and ascertain challenges faced by the gallery in documenting its objects. Research results indicated that the gallery’s documentation system encompassed both manual and electronic documentation, which addressed vital aspects that have been prescribed by Object ID Standards for the identification and recovery of stolen objects. These include photographs, provenance, and name of objects. This, coupled with networks with key institutions involved in the fight against theft and illicit trafficking of objects, has enabled the gallery to recover its stolen objects from Poland. However, lack of state-of-the-art cameras has led to the production of poor photographs, which compromised the gallery’s claim to its stolen objects. Additionally, lack of ideal software for the gallery’s database is hampering effective documentation efforts. The research recommends that the gallery should acquire appropriate cameras for quality documentation of its objects and purchase database software with backup support for software upgrades to prevent loss of information on its objects. View Full-Text
Keywords: documentation; illicit trafficking; collections security documentation; illicit trafficking; collections security
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Chiwara, D. Documentation: A Security Tool for the Identification and Repatriation of Illicitly Trafficked Objects from Museums with Particular Reference to the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. Heritage 2019, 2, 390-399.

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