6828 - Philanthropy and Museums: Managing Dialog in the Late Modern Era

During the late modern era , public institutions and private individuals developed complex and mutually beneficial relationships as a result of philanthropic exchange. This presentation will discuss that phenomenon, and the influence of philanthropic intervention within the museological context through analysis of the Jacob H. Schiff Expedition to China which was directed by Franz Boas under the auspices of the American Museum of Natural History from 1901-1904.

This paper analyzes public , private , and institutional aspects of Schiff's patronage of the museum, with emphases on the specific dialog that the Schiff Expedition initiated, as well as his material influence on the development of the East Asiatic collection at the AMNH and Boas' career path. Alternatively known as the Laufer China Expedition, Boas secured funding for this major undertaking from Schiff, a financier and fellow German émigré who had been a long time contributor to the AMNH. This exploration initiated a working relationship between Schiff and Boas that lasted until Schiff's death in 1920, and the objects collected during this trip were accessioned to the East Asiatic collection, of which Boas was at that time secretary. Furthermore, and in conjunction with the Jesup North Pacific Expedition of 1897-1902, the Jacob H. Schiff Expedition to China materially furthered Boas’ reputation as an anthropologist during a pivotal point in his career, and established him as a strong theoretician who had the financial backing to realize his ambitions.

This research is based on institutional records held at the AMNH and correspondence s between Schiff, Boas, Laufer, and AMNH president Morris K. Jesup from 1900-1920. The discussion includes a historico-cultural contextualization of philanthropy within the contemporary German Jewish émigré community, and discusses the crucial, yet often overlooked role this community played in the development of anthropology in both the museological and academic contexts.

Palabras claves: philanthropy, , dialog, exchange, curation, collection

Autores: Penaloza Patzak, Catherine Brooke (Universität Wien, Austria / Österreich)


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