Museum Wants to Return Objects, but There's a Hitch





The Brooklyn Museum is preparing to return about 4,500 pre-Columbian artifacts taken from Costa Rica roughly a century ago.

Costa Rica had made no claim to the objects, which were exported in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Minor C. Keith, a railroad magnate and a founder of the United Fruit Company. And there were none of the conflicts, legal threats or philosophical debates that sometimes accompany arguments between museums and countries that claim ownership of antiquities in their collections.

Instead, the museum simply decided that its closets were too full, overstuffed with items acquired during an era when it aimed to become the biggest museum in the world. So it offered the pieces to the National Museum of Costa Rica, which accepted but has yet to raise the $59,000 needed to pack and ship the first batch....


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