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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Center for Art Collection Ethics

Ellingen Stash Bowl, Pueblo of Zuni

Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Center for Art Collection Ethics

Nearly every week, a news headline announces the latest lawsuit over a valuable work of art. An heir of Holocaust victims sues a museum over a painting stolen by the Nazis. An antiquities-rich country sues a dealer or gallery over objects plundered by profit-seekers. Indigenous peoples claim sacred objects looted by amateur archaeologists and donated to art museums. Often, the objects have been sold multiple times before reaching the current owner, complicating legal and ethical dimensions of the disputes.

In an effort to increase awareness of these issues and promote art provenance (ownership) research training, the University of Denver has established the Center for Art Collection Ethics (ACE) in the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (CAHSS). Elizabeth Campbell, Associate Professor of History, serves as Director.

ACE promotes ethical art collection stewardship through digital information and on-campus training, through non-degree certificate programs. We will offer our inaugural program on the stewardship of Native American collections, June 21-26, 2020. The program, featuring Native experts and practitioners, will include object studies in the collections of DU's Museum of Anthropology and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS). Additional program information will be available later this fall (2019). 

While CAHSS websites are migrating to a new platform, Professor Campbell's blog also serves as the ACE news blog and social media hub. To receive updates, including on our summer training program, visit us and subscribe at artcollectionethics.org, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @UofDenver_ACE.