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The sad state of Indonesian museums

Yogi Ishabib

The Jakarta Post

Kendari  /  Tue, February 23, 2021  /  03:41 pm
The sad state of Indonesian museums

Dodhy Syarul Syah, the head of the State Museum of Southeast Sulawesi in Kendari, stands near empty shelves in the museum warehouse. Burglars reportedly broke in and stole 668 original artifacts from the warehouse on Jan. 25, 2021. (JP/Yogi Ishabib)

International discourse on the repatriation and decolonization of looted art and artifacts has produced tangible results in recent years, as in the case of the Netherlands government returning thousands of historical artifacts to the Indonesian government just last year. Unfortunately, Indonesia may not always be ready to accommodate the care and storage of its repatriated heritage assets. The State Museum of Southeast Sulawesi in the provincial capital of Kendari lost 668 historical objects overnight on Jan. 25, 2021. The museum had around 1,500 artifacts that the Netherlands government had returned to Indonesia in 2015-2019. No CCTV cameras or museum security were on site to catch the burglars in the act. The stolen items have not been recovered to date. The provincial museum is the latest victim in the 28 museum thefts that have occurred in the country since 1961. No budge...