Nicholas Thomas is the director of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge and the author of The Return of Curiosity: What Museums are Good for in the 21st Century (Reaktion Books)

A sculpture given to Captain Cook returns to Tahiti

The figures brought over in 1771 are the first documented works of Oceanic art – and now on display where they were made

3 Jul 2023

What are museums really for?

The perceived role of museums in society has grown enormously in recent years – but how far does that reflect what they actually are?

23 Sep 2019

How Native Americans are reclaiming their history

This book is inevitably partial, but offers the best single account to date of repatriation claims in the US

29 Jul 2017

When do ethnographic objects become art?

An upcoming exhibition on the art of Fiji should make us rethink the relationship between culture and context

6 Aug 2016

We need ethnographic museums today – whatever you think of their history

Ethnographic collections need to be living collections, representative of cultural diversity and mindful of traditions

29 Mar 2016

First Look: Discoveries

Nicholas Thomas introduces an eclectic new exhibition, ‘Discoveries’ at Two Temple Place

29 Jan 2014