The American Museum of Natural History in New York City has removed its 12,000 human remains collection after stating that some skeletons of Indigenous and enslaved people resulted from grave robberies.
The New York-based museum will remove the remains so officials can investigate and determine their origins, said the museum’s president, Sean M. Decatur, in a statement. According to the Daily Mail, museum employees received an email about the news, and other natural history museums face the same scrutiny to remove controversial exhibits displaying stolen human remains.
“After consultation with our Board of Trustees, I am announcing two initial steps: we will begin immediately to prepare new storage to house the human remains in our collection, and we will remove exhibit elements that include human remains from 12 display cases. These range from instruments and beads made from, or incorporating, human bones to skeletons and mummies. Even in instances where the exhibit elements are cultural objects, this is the appropriate step to take while we reevaluate our stewardship of collections of remains of once-living individuals.”