The anti-deaccessioning laws that govern the British Museum & many of Britain’s other national museums & galleries are a consistent source of frustration for those pursuing restitution claims. Despite some loosening of the laws & other proposed changes, the regulations set out in the Acts of Parliament that govern these institutions stop most restitution claims from ever being properly considered.
The usual answer given is that whether or not they (the institution in question) wanted to return the artefacts, the law would not let them do so. This always seems like a bit of a smoke screen though – it is rare to see them suggesting that these laws are changed & one wonders what the next excuse would be once this barrier would be removed. On the other hand, as public opinion has shifted, the return of human remains has become a relatively accepted practise.
The case discussed below is also interesting, as it is a nominally intranational case in the same was as the Lindisfarne Gospels & the Lewis Chessmen.
Published Date: 23 October 2008
Chronicles won’t be coming home
ONE of the most important Manx historical documents will remain in the ownership of the British Library for the forseeable future, Chief Minister Tony Brown announced in Tynwald this week.
Enquiries had been made by the Manx government about the Chronicles of Mann being returned to the Island but hope was dashed because the British Library is legally obliged to keep its artefacts.
‘The ultimate aim was to have the Chronicles of Mann returned to the Isle of Man,’ Mr Brown said.
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