Orphan artefacts : investigating classical objects in the Iziko collection, Cape Town

Welman-Hawkes, Thandi (2020-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Since 1998 a collection of 238 classical antiquities, many of which were previously on display for over a century, has been in storage in the Iziko Social History Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. These artefacts are of a low priority for display in the museum and the skills necessary to conserve them are at present unavailable to the museum staff. The purpose of this thesis is, having created a database of the antiquities in storage using accession documents from the museum, to situate the collection in a South African heritage context. The resulting database has preserved the museum data which has previously only been available as physical records within the museum’s archive. To contextualise the collection of Greek and Roman antiquities I have examined the collection practices of the South African Museum and the South African Cultural History Museum (now Iziko) pre- and post 1994, and the relevant South African heritage legislation to assess whether these intrinsically European artefacts have value in a post-colonial, post-apartheid South Africa. Using the theories of negative heritage, object- and nation-oriented policies, and a typology of value I have developed for this study, I have ascertained that while direct assimilation into exhibitions may be unlikely, there is a future for these antiquities in integrated museum display, tertiary education, and as a resource for future research endeavours, specifically through digital preservation and greater co-operation between the museum and educational institutions.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Sedert 1998 word ‘n versameling van 238 klassieke oudhede, waarvan baie voorheen vir dekades uitgestal was, geberg in die Iziko Social History Centre in Kaapstad, Suid-Afrika. Hierdie artefakte het ‘n lae prioriteit vir uitstalling in die museum en daarbenewens beskik die museumpersoneel nie oor die vaardighede vir die bewaring daarvan nie. Die tweevoudige doel van hierdie verhandeling is om ‘n katalogus van die oudhede wat in bewaring is te skep deur die gebruik van die museum se aanwinsdokumente en om die versameling dan in die konteks van ’n Suid-Afrikaanse erfenis te plaas. Die voortspruitende katalogus bewaar nou die data wat vroeër slegs as fisiese rekords in die museum se argiewe beskikbaar was. Om die versameling Griekse en Romeinse oudhede in konteks te plaas, het ek die versamelingmetodes van die Iziko Museum voor en na 1994 ondersoek, asook die relevante Suid-Afrikaanse wetgewing rakende erfenis om op te weeg of hierdie intrinsieke Europese artefakte waarde het in ‘n post-koloniale, post-Apartheid Suid-Afrika. Deur die gebruik van die teorieë van negatiewe erfenisvoorwerpe voorwerp- en nasie-georiënteerde beleidsrigtinge asook ‘n topologie van waarde wat ek vir die doel van hierdie studie ontwikkel het, het ek bepaal dat hoewel direkte assimilasie in uitstallings onwaarskynlik mag wees, daar wel ‘n toekoms vir hierdie oudhede is in geïntegreerde museumuitstallings, tersiêre onderrig en as ‘n bron vir toekomstige navorsing – spesifiek deur digitale bewaring en groter samewerking tussen die museum en opvoedkundige inrigtings.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/108039
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