Central to the mission of the Penn Museum, is the preservation of cultural heritage as expressed in the Pennsylvania Declaration issued at the 1970 UNESCO Convention.
On 17 November 1990, The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was signed into law. As of 2010, 39 formal repatriation claims seeking the return of collections have been received by the Penn Museum. Twenty-four repatriations have been completed resulting in the transfer of 226 sets of human remains, 750 funerary objects, 14 unassociated funerary objects, 19 objects of cultural patrimony, 16 sacred objects and 1 object claimed as both cultural patrimony and sacred. Read more about Penn Museum's NAGPRA program
In October 2010, former Penn Museum volunteer Warren Kamensky made a generous donation to endow the position of NAGPRA Coordinator in the American Section—the position currently held by Stacey Espenlaub. The NAGPRA Coordinator position continues to support increasingly important initiatives, not only in the care of our collection, but also in developing and maintaining relationships with the tribes and native communities of North America.