Alongside the thousands of translocated objects from Benin in museums and institutions worldwide, there is a vast amount of archival material stored in institutions which is not widely accessible. The material ranges from photography and correspondence to inventory reports, and offers insights into the events around the 1897 British colonial occupation of Benin and the provenance of objects since their forced translocation at the end of nineteenth century.
Digital Benin received archival material from fifty institutions. While sorting through the material and researching its content, it became clear that making this material accessible online first required an in-depth consultation by experts and the development of guidelines. Some material references violence and trauma and is inherently colonial or contains words, terms and phrases that are inaccurate, derogatory and harmful towards African and African diasporic communities. Digital Benin is extending the current project to identify and digitise relevant archival material that has not yet been digitised and to formulate accountability procedures for access on the platform.