September 29, 2009
The British Museum Act forbids the British Museum from de-accessioning artefacts from its collection, unless they are duplicates of other items or damaged to the extent of being worthless. Attempts to legally circumvent it have been unsuccessful. This fact is regularly used as a wall by the British Museum when anyone asks to discuss the reunification of the Elgin Marbles – with the statement that even if they wanted to return them they couldn’t.
A solution to this has been put forward in the past by the Greek Government, suggesting that the sculptures could instead be located in the New Acropolis Museum on a long term loan – an arrangement that is supported by many in Britain. The British Museum has in the past avoided serious discussion of this, by stating that the concept of long term loans is oxymoronic – suggesting that a loan for a long duration is no longer a loan & essentially constitutes ownership, making it impossible.
A few weeks ago, I covered one artefact – currently in the British Museum on long term loan. It appears though that in their collection are many other similar cases, such as the chalice from Lacock detailed in the article below, which has been on loan to the British Museum since the 1960s. Clearly long term loans are a lot easier to contemplate when you are the recipient rather than the owner – but whatever point of view one takes on that, it is clear that long terms loans are very definitely possible.
£2 million communion chalice could save church roof
A church appealing to raise money for a new roof has had its prayers answered after one of its silver communion chalices was valued at £2 million
Published: 7:00AM BST 28 Sep 2009
The medieval cup, which stands just a few inches high, was described by experts as one of the best-preserved specimens of its kind anywhere in the world.
It has been used by countless generations of worshippers at St Cyriac’s Church in the village of Lacock, Wilts, since the 1400s. But until now the chalice – on loan to the British Museum since the 1960s – has never been accurately valued.
Read the rest of this entry »