Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Matthew Reilly

Subject Categories

African History | African Languages and Societies | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Military History | Museum Studies


Repatriation, Asante, American Museum of Natural History, Museums, Gold, British Museum, Gold Coast, Ghana, Archaeology, Anthropology


Inspired by calls for the repatriation of famous artifacts like the Benin Bronzes and the Elgin Marbles, for this capstone project, I have analyzed and catalogued 250 sampled Asante artifacts at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). Through this analysis, I discuss the many ways museums in North America acquired their collections. By doing so, I explore the difficulties that arise in debates surrounding repatriation due to the manner in which these artifacts were acquired. I argue that due to the many different types of donors of the Asante artifacts to the American Museum of Natural History, the Asante objects at the museum represent a challenging case for repatriation if the Asante kingdom was to ask for their return. This paper is accompanied by a website created through the CUNY Academic Commons, which is accessible here: https://ashantiobjects.commons.gc.cuny.edu/. The website offers a digital representation of repatriation issue, images of the cataloged Ashanti objects at the American Museum of Natural History, and historical background on the Anglo-Ashanti war.


Online component: https://ashantiobjects.commons.gc.cuny.edu/

challenges-of-repatriation-capstone-20210529172214.warc (174060 kB)
Archived website as a WARC file, created using webrecorder.io – web archive player available at https://github.com/webrecorder/webrecorderplayer-electron