Showing results 1 - 12 of 13 for the month of October, 2011.

October 27, 2011

Is it time to re-consider the importance of free museum admission

Posted at 1:30 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

In the face of UK public spending cutbacks, more & more people are questioning the free museum admission policy. Certainly, it is nice for everyone to be able to use them for free, but does this sometimes occur to the detriment of the visitor experience?

From:
Guardian

We need to start charging for museums and galleries again
Reintroducing entrance fees for the great collections should be a plank of government arts planning
Tristram Hunt
The Observer, Sunday 6 March 2011

The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent is, according to author AN Wilson, “the greatest museum in the world”. Its ceramics collection is rivalled only by the V&A, its Arnold Bennett archive is bettered only by the British Library and its Staffordshire Hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasures is second only to the British Museum.

But while it is free to visit the V&A, the British Library and Museum, an entrance fee is set to be charged in Stoke. Across the country, eye-watering cuts to local authority budgets mean that councils are either closing museums or ratcheting up charges. Last week, artist Anish Kapoor accused the Tories of having a “castration complex” about the arts. Yet, in the midst of this, the teeming London museums continue to enjoy a state subsidy to retain free admission.
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Nefertiti & the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 1:09 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

An extract from a radio discussion, noted on David Gill’s Looting Matters blog. I am unclear though about what Tom Holland’s reason was for suggesting at the end that the Parthenon Sculptures should not be re-united in a single place.

From:
Looting Matters

Nefertiti and the Parthenon Marbles

I am grateful to my sharp-eared colleague Chris Hall for drawing my attention to this interview.

Salima Ikram, American University in Cairo, and Tom Holland, were in conversation with John Humphrys of BBC Radio 4′s “Today” programme earlier today [Monday, February 21, 2011: interview]. They discussed the limited looting in the Cairo Museum and were in agreement that the people of Egypt demonstrated that they cared about the protection of their antiquities.
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The “Most Contentious Artefact of all time”

Posted at 1:04 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

This review of the British Museum aptly describes the Parthenon Sculptures as “Most Contentious Artefact of all time”. While this is currently the case, it does not need to continue this way. They are notorious because of the actions of Elgin & the continued retention by the British Museum – something which distracts from being able to see them as works of art in their own right.

from:
Spoonfed

The British Museum

A few steps north of Soho this huge and entrancing museum tells the history of the world through the medium of stolen or borrowed artifacts, snaffled up by British explorers in the 18th and 19th century and preserved forever in this magnificent British setting.

The award for ‘Most Contentious Artefact of all time’ is held by the Elgin Marbles which adorn a purpose built section of the Museum. There’s also a fabulous collection of Mummies and other Egyptian treasures stolen with equal audacity, including the Rosetta stone which is worth a look – a translating tool that looks like it fell out of the hold of a space ship. If you feel like moving beyond the more popular rooms, then have a look at the trove of Saxon treasure, including intricate gold work from our own shores.
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Nefertiti bust remains safe in Germany

Posted at 12:59 pm in Similar cases

Against the backdrop of looting carrying on in Egypt, many museums around the world holding artefacts on which restitution claims have been made were quick to step forward highlighting how the artefacts were safer outside the country. It is hard to see though how this was ever the intention when the artefacts were removed – a fortunate co-incidence does not justify the rebuttal of repeated return requests that are made to museums of the west. Security is not guaranteed in any country – one wonders whether these museum would be desperate to return the artefacts if their own country was besieged by looting & riots – or whether they would quickly find a different argument in favour of maintaining the status quo.

From:
Deutsche Welle

Art | 28.02.2011
Egypt’s cultural artifacts are casualties of political unrest

In the wake of political turmoil in Egypt, questions linger about the damage inflicted upon its archaeological treasures. But how much the international community can or should do remains unclear.

While Nefertiti sits with her head held high on Berlin’s Museum Island, archaeologists are besieged with worry over the cultural riches in her home country. Graves have been plundered; artifacts were found smashed in the corners of a famous museum; and protestors have demanded the resignation of Egypt’s antiquities minister, Zahi Hawass, known for his aggressive pursuit of Egyptian artifacts being kept abroad.
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Yales decision to return Inca artefacts to Machu Picchu

Posted at 12:48 pm in Similar cases

An in-depth article in three parts, looking at the decision made by Yale University to return Inca artefacts to Peru.

From:
Yale Daily News

Returning to Machu Picchu
Yale and Peru
By Sarah Nutman
Senior Reporter
Monday, February 14, 2011

This is a three-part series exploring Yale’s decision to return artifacts from Machu Picchu to Peru: the history behind it, the negotiations leading up to it, and its ramifications. Part 1 investigates the century-long conflict between the University and Peru over the artifacts, which Hiram Bingham III 1898 brought to Yale nearly 100 years ago. (Read part 2 and part 3.)

The corner of Room 188 in building A21 on Yale University’s West Campus is filled with crates marked “fragile” and destined for Peru. Over the next weeks and months, between now and the end of 2012, thousands of objects excavated from Machu Picchu nearly a century ago will be carefully packed. In March, the first set of objects will be shipped by plane to Lima. By July 24, the 100th anniversary of Hiram Bingham’s III 1898 arrival at Machu Picchu they will be in Cusco, capital of the former Inca empire, and the waypoint for travelers headed to the great citadel.
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Neil MacGregor talks about protecting artefacts from damage

Posted at 12:40 pm in Similar cases

Neil MacGregor talks about the need to protect artefacts abroad – yet his museum is one of the worst culprits at hanging on to artefacts from these countries – many of which were taken during times of civil unrest in the past.

From:
Times of India

Museums enable societies to ask questions: MacGregor
Vithal C Nadkarni, Feb 9, 2011, 04.42am IST

MUMBAI: British Museum director Neil MacGregor says he was extremely encouraged by the Egyptian people’s response to the recent attack on their national museum in Cairo’s Liberation Square. Not only did the police catch the vandals quickly but volunteers spontaneously formed a 3,000-strong human chain around the edifice to protect it from further damage.

“This shows how important ideas of collective history and national identity have become to people today,” he told TOI in an exclusive chat at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya before his talk, ‘Stories of the World: Museums, History and Contemporary Society’.
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October 26, 2011

The Elgin family busts in Ottawa

Posted at 1:09 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

More coverage of the controversy over the locations of the busts of the Eighth Earl of Elgin and his wife in Canada.

From:
The Herald (Scotland)

Elgin marble row with a difference as Canadian hotel seeks return of busts
MARTIN WILLIAMS
22 Feb 2011

IT sometimes seems that anything linked to the Elgin dynasty and made of marble is bound to become shrouded in controversy.

The long-running row between London and Athens is rumbling on over the sculptures known as the Parthenon Marbles, which were taken from the Acropolis.
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The easy availability of looted Afghan artefacts

Posted at 1:00 pm in Similar cases

Looting of historic artefacts is just as much of a problem in the present day as it was in the past. Many of the people / organisations along the supply chain are unwilling to perhaps apply the controls & regulation that are required.

From:
Dawn.com

Cultural plunder
21 Feb 2011
By Peter Thonemann

ARE you keen to help finance the activities of warlords and insurgents across Afghanistan?

As I write, eBay is inviting bids on no fewer than 128 ancient Bactrian and Indo-Greek silver and bronze coins, from sellers in Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.
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The location of the Ottawa busts of the eighth Earl of Elgin & his wife

Posted at 12:53 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

It is hard to tell, whether everything that the Elgin family were involved in had a tendency to generate controversy – or whether the controversies are always mentioned, because it is easy for writers to attempt to draw parallels to the story of the Parthenon Marbles

From:
Ottawa Citizen

Our Elgin Marbles
Sculptures of Lord and Lady Elgin have moved from hotel to Rideau Hall
By Tony Lofaro, The Ottawa Citizen February 20, 2011

OTTAWA — What is the rightful home of Ottawa’s marble busts of Lord and Lady Elgin? The answer is a compelling tale about an Ottawa landmark, a noble Scottish family and a government that appears to value fine print over tradition.

Since 2003, the busts of the eighth earl of Elgin, an influential governor general of Canada, and his wife, Lady Mary Lambton, have been at Rideau Hall. Before that they were displayed prominently in the lobby of the Lord Elgin Hotel, and had been there since prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King unveiled them at the hotel’s opening on a Saturday afternoon in July 1941.
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October 25, 2011

Hawass’s changing story about the looting of Egypt

Posted at 1:23 pm in Similar cases

Following the looting of the Egyptian Museum, Zahi Hawass’s story about the events that occurred has changed many times. It will be interesting to see if he manages to keep his job for long in an Egypt no longer ruled by Mubarak.

From:
The New Yorker

February 18, 2011
Speaking with the Sphinx
Posted by Jenna Krajeski

The gates to the office of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, and of Zahi Hawass—the council’s Secretary General, then Minister of Antiquities Affairs, and now object of public scorn—were padlocked yesterday, in an effort to keep out protesters. Unemployed graduates of Egypt’s archaeology programs milled around on the sidewalk outside the building, in Cairo’s Zamalek district, demanding jobs and Hawass’s resignation. The calmness of their demonstration raised the question: Was the security measure really necessary, or was it an act of theater staged by Hawass? The gift store inside was still open.

Since the Egyptian Museum was looted on January 28th, Hawass’s official story has fluctuated. First he said that daft, amateur looters stole nothing of value—“They thought the shop was the museum, thank God!”—and all was well. Hawass was appointed as Minister of Antiquities Affairs in Mubarak’s interim government, and announced that protesters should go home; the Sphinx, he wrote on his Web site, agreed: “I looked carefully into his eyes, and imagined that I saw tears. The Sphinx is sad because of what has happened; Egypt will lose billions and billions of dollars, and for Egypt to recuperate this money it will take at least three years.” Then Mubarak resigned, and Hawass revealed that eight pieces remained missing from the museum, among them a statue of Akhenaten and two of Tutankhamun. Broken bits were being recovered from the area around the museum.
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Are ideological reasons stopping some artefacts from being displayed in museums

Posted at 1:12 pm in Similar cases

Are modern-day sensibilities altering the way that museums in the UK display artefacts such as Egyptian mummies?

From:
Independent

The curse of the vanishing mummies
Museums have been hiding away priceless collections of human remains, for ideological reasons
By Tiffany Jenkins
Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Egyptian mummies used to be among the most popular displays in British museum collections. But their days as a visitor attraction may be numbered. Increasingly they are being secreted away by curators, hidden away from the public without consultation.

In the coming year, Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery will publish its first policy specifically on the use and display of human remains. It is clear from the draft that staff are increasingly sensitive about exhibits of ancient bodies and skeletons. Recommendations include erecting signs to “alert” visitors that such material is on display – and reconsidering whether to show it at all.
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Trying to keep the site up to date….

Posted at 1:02 pm in Elgin Marbles

I’ll be adding more posts to the site over the next few days – I’ve got a big backlog though, following getting married a few weeks ago, which took up all my spare time for a while.

So, some of the stories that show up here as new will be a bit out of date until I manage to catch up the backlog.