Là où dialoguent les musées: The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa at the Musée du Quai Branly
The opening of the Musée du quai Branly in 2006 signalled a new approach to the display of Māori and Pacific collections in France and the beginning of a new relationship with the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Between 2006 and 2012, the two museums were brought together by two challenging events: the repatriation of toi moko (Māori tattooed heads) from France to New Zealand and the 2011 exhibition Maori: leurs trésors ont une âme at the quai Branly. Through a close study of the repatriation and exhibition, and interviews with participants, this thesis considers the questions these events raise. How can museums with very different approaches to the treatment of artefacts negotiate issues of repatriation and the exhibition of sacred objects? How should colonial-era anthropological collections be exhibited today? What is the place of contemporary indigenous art in the museum? By focusing on the exchanges between two institutions, Te Papa and the quai Branly, this thesis suggests how conversations at an individual level can lead to shifts in the perception and exhibition of museum objects, and how dialogues between museums internationally can contribute to an evolution in the treatment and display of indigenous artefacts and art in museums.