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Return of Historical Objects and Artefacts Essay

This return of historical objects and artefacts essay question appeared in the test in July 2023.

Take a look at the question and the model answer.

Return of Historical Artefacts EssayShould historical artefacts be returned?

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Historical objects and artefacts should be brought back to their country of origin.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience or knowledge.

Write at least 250 words.

Model Answer

The repatriation of historical objects and artefacts to their countries of origin has sparked intense debates. While I acknowledge the importance of preserving a nation's heritage and cultural identity, I believe that the decision to return these items should be made with careful consideration of various factors.

Firstly, repatriation can serve as a means to restore a sense of cultural pride and identity. Objects that hold historical and cultural significance often represent the heart of a nation's heritage, and their return can contribute to the enrichment of local communities. For instance, the return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece from the British Museum could enhance Greek citizens' connection to their ancient past, fostering a deeper appreciation for their own cultural roots.

However, the process of repatriation is not devoid of complexities. Museums and institutions that currently house these artefacts often argue that they have been responsible for their preservation, and returning them might jeopardise their conservation. Moreover, in cases where historical objects have been acquired through legal means or during times of colonial expansion, determining rightful ownership can be challenging. Repatriation could also hinder cultural exchange and global appreciation of history by limiting access to these objects from people around the world.

Striking a balance between repatriation and the preservation of global cultural heritage is crucial. Instead of blanket repatriation policies, collaboration between countries of origin and current custodians could be a more effective approach. This could involve temporary loans, joint exhibitions, or digital platforms to facilitate the sharing of information and knowledge about these objects.

In conclusion, while I agree that the return of historical objects and artefacts to their countries of origin can contribute positively to cultural identity, I also believe that a nuanced approach is necessary, with a focus on collaboration and compromise.

(296 Words)

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