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Title: Giving up the dead? : the impact and effectiveness of the Human Tissue Act and the Guidance for the Care of Human Remains in English Museums
Authors: White, Elizabeth
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis explores the impact and effectiveness of Human Tissue Act 2004 (HTAct) and the Guidance for the Care of Human Remains in Museums (Guidance) upon museums in England and the human remains housed within those museums. Whilst the HTAct is a piece of legislation targeted primarily at the medical profession, two sections are pertinent to museums. Firstly, Section 16 legislates for the establishment of mandatory licensing for various activities involving human remains; including the storage and display of human remains under 100 years old. Secondly, Section 47 gives nine national museums previously bound by the British Museum Act 1963, the power to de-accession human remains under 1000 years old from their collections. Conversely, the Guidance is a document developed by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in order to guide Section 47 affected museums and other institutions holding human remains through the growing number of requests to repatriate human remains and to offer a set of best practice recommendations relating more generally to the treatment of human remains. In order to understand the impact and effectiveness of the HTAct and the Guidance, an England-wide museum survey was undertaken; the results of which form the basis of this research. Museum responses to this survey would seem to indicate that, other than financially, the HTAct has had little impact upon museums and that, two years after the publication of the Guidance, many museums had still not implemented its best practice recommendations. Indeed, despite the HTAct and the Guidance, results indicate that there are still a number of unresolved issues relating to the treatment of human remains in English museums.
Description: PhD Thesis. Supplementary documents on disk accompanying thesis to be consulted in Library only.
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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