Lisa Pieraccini, Advisory Council Member for MAPRA announces a major grant from the NEH to The Foundation for Ethical Stewardship of Cultural Heritage

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April 19, 2024

The Foundation for Ethical Stewardship of Cultural Heritage (FESCH) has won a major grant from
the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support provenance research on ancient art
and artifacts. The Phase II Research and Development grant from the Division of Preservation and
Access will provide $350,000 over the next three years to develop the Mediterranean Antiquities
Provenance Research Alliance (MAPRA). MAPRA brings together subject matter experts,
including academics, museum professionals, and data scientists, to establish standards and create
a protocol for provenance research on objects from the ancient Mediterranean.

The feasibility of the protocol will be tested by faculty, staff, and students at four collaborating
institutions: University of California, Berkeley; University of Cincinnati; Miami University of Ohio;
and The University of Oklahoma. By focusing on academic collections, MAPRA will be conducting
research on a vast, but relatively unknown, corpus of objects while training the next generation of
provenance professionals. Data will be collected in an open-access database, in order to make
so-called orphaned antiquities known to their countries of origin. Ultimately, MAPRA hopes to
facilitate restitutions, where warranted, but also to promote bilateral agreements to allow objects to
remain legally and ethically in academic collections for study and research.

Lisa Pieraccini, an Advisory Council Member, reports that UC Berkeley's “test case” is meant to be conducted on part of the Etruscan collection at the Hearst Museum.

The NEH grant announcement may be found here:

About FESCH:
The Foundation for Ethical Stewardship of Cultural Heritage was established in 2022 by Mireille M.
Lee, PhD, who now serves as its Executive Director. According to Lee: “The decolonization of
museums and collections is long overdue, especially in the realm of Mediterranean antiquities.
FESCH is committed to righting past wrongs through provenance research and restitution.” For
further information, please visit