October 9, 2006

Just how well protected are items in the British Museum?

Posted at 6:44 pm in British Museum

Following on from the Daily Telegraph’s investigation into the British Museum’s protection of items within their collections, a number of international syndicated news sources have also picked up on the story.

United Press International

British Museum at risk for vandalism
LONDON, Oct. 8 (UPI)

The British Museum is facing trouble due the number of visitors being allowed to touch ancient artifacts, leading to possible deterioration.

The Telegraph reported on the uproar, which has forced curators to place some of the museum’s Egyptian treasures behind glass. Some staff fear that the growing rowdiness of visitors is putting museum artifacts at risk, documents show.

The documents also reveal pleadings from curators to museum management to place “Do Not Touch” signs in the gallery that houses the museum’s Egyptian collection.

The requests for the signs, however, have reportedly gone unheeded.

In a letter in February, Jeffrey Spencer, the deputy keeper of the collection, cited one member of the public who reportedly witnessed 17 incidents of inappropriate behavior on a single visit.

Other museum papers reveal strains among members working in what is known as the King’s Library, where complaints have surfaced of visitors touching sculptures and other treasures. The museum warder reportedly responded saying that visitors were allowed to touch anything they wish in the King’s Library.

© Copyright 2006 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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