Showing results 49 - 60 of 759 for the tag: Cultural Property.

December 11, 2014

Can Russia be trusted to return Parthenon sculpture to Britain?

Posted at 1:06 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

This post continues my thematic reproduction of articles on the recent loan of a Parthenon sculpture to the Hermitage in St Petersburg by the British Museum.

The gist of these three articles is whether or not Putin’s Russia can be trusted to return the sculpture to Britain. Beyond that starting point though, the argument can follow various possible routes.

A lot of the reasoning here is directed at Russia rather than the Hermitage – however, in many cases, if a country wants to over-ride the wishes of its museums, it can do so fairly easily.

There are various other possible arguments that have not been put forward in these articles. One possible line of thinking is that Russia might return the sculpture to Greece – in order to gain an ally in the EU. The two countries have in common their heritage of Orthodox Christianity, but that is about as far as it goes. If Greece was to push for, or accept such an offer, it might well jeopardise their future bids to retrieve the remainder of the sculptures in the British Museum, so would not necessarily be in their interest.

Putin has in the past displayed clear support for the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures in Athens, stating that “The Greeks are trying to bring back what belongs not only to them but to all humanity. This shows that your efforts are to your [the Greeks] credit and we [the Russians] will support you in this.“. He also noted that “various conquerors had attempted to remove and appropriate parts of the Parthenon” which was “one of the most outstanding monuments of humanity

I have to say though, that past experience with some of the news sources involved here leads me to doubt the likelihood of some of these stories actually turning out to be any more than just speculation.

On a separate note, it is disappointing (but not surprising) to see that Neil MacGregor continues to make the assertion that Greece has never asked for a loan of the sculptures – something that has already been proved incorrect by this post I made a few days ago.

It is also interesting to see that the Director of the Hermitage, Mikhail Piotrovskiy, describes the loan as an important artistic and political gesture. This directly contradicts what the British Museum told me on twitter – that “Being independent of government, we work directly with museums so that dialogues can develop free from political considerations“. So is what they are doing a political gesture or not? I think most would argue that whether or not it is the intention to deny political involvement, this doesn’t necessarily make the gesture apolitical.

Visitors look at a sculpture from the Parthenon marbles at the Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia

Visitors look at a sculpture from the Parthenon marbles at the Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia

From:
Daily Mail

Fears raised that Elgin Marbles sculpture sent to Russia ‘won’t be sent back’ – as British Museum claims Greece has never formally asked for them to be returned
By Jenny Awford for MailOnline
Published: 11:49, 6 December 2014 | Updated: 15:32, 6 December 2014

Fears are growing for the safety of part of the Elgin marbles loaned to Russia, as British museum trustees admitted they were worried the sculpture might not come back.

The unveiling of the headless statue of Greek river-god Ilissos at the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg yesterday prompted a furious diplomatic row with Greece.
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December 10, 2014

Russia is the wrong place to lend a Parthenon sculpture to

Posted at 6:29 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

In coverage of the recent loan of a Parthenon sculpture to Russia by the British Museum, a number of themes have emerged.

One of these themes is that we should not be making (masssice, groundbreaking) loans to Putin’s Russia. This current story comes at a time of continuing tension in the Ukraine and with the EU applying sanctions against Russia. Surely, one must conclude that they not a country for Britain to be rewarding and ingratiating themselves to at this current point in time.

Visitors passing a sculpture from the Parthenon marbles at the Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia

Visitors passing a sculpture from the Parthenon marbles at the Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia

From:
Guardian

The British Museum is wrong to loan the Parthenon marbles to Russia
The UK has chosen sanctions as a weapon against Russia, so why are we now inviting cultural exchanges?
Hugh Muir
Friday 5 December 2014 10.57 GMT

Time passes and memories fade, but does anyone remember Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, the one shot down by Russian-backed separatists over Ukraine in July? All 298 passengers were killed when a missile downed the airliner. I knew one of the victims a few years back: Glenn Thomas, a very affable British journalist who worked for the World Health Organisation and was on his way to a health conference in Australia.

We were pretty angry about that, and about what Vladimir Putin has been up to in Ukraine, and so for some time we have been trying to impose some sort of pressure on the Russian president by applying sanctions to his regime. Today, in the midst of those efforts, we learn that the British Museum has decided to loan Russia part of its hotly contested property, the Parthenon marbles, also known as the Elgin marbles.
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Further coverage of British Museum Hermitage loan

Posted at 9:35 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Further general coverage of the loan by the British Museum to the Hermitage of one of the Parthenon Sculptures.

Part of the Parthenon Marbles, the British Museum plans to loan the river-god Ilissos to the Hermitage in St Petersburg

Part of the Parthenon Marbles, the British Museum plans to loan the river-god Ilissos to the Hermitage in St Petersburg

From:
Museums Association

British Museum loans Parthenon Marbles to Hermitage Museum
Patrick Steel
05.12.2014

The British Museum is to lend a marble sculpture of the river god Ilissos, part of the Parthenon Marbles, to the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia.

According to the British Museum, it is the first time that one of the Parthenon Marbles has been requested for a loan, and will be the first time the marbles have left the museum.

Neil MacGregor, the museum’s director, said: “This sculpture speaks of the world of Socrates and Plato. A great work of art, it embodies the belief in the supreme value of rational debate among free citizens.
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December 9, 2014

Turkey supports Greece in fight to reunify Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 3:24 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Historically, Turkey and Greece have not necessarily seen eye to eye. Turkey has in the past however supported Greece in their attempts to reunify the Parthenon Sculptures.

Following the recent loan by the British Museum to the Hermitage of one of the sculptures originally removed by Elgin, Turkey has once again come out in support of Greece’s restitution requests.

Visitors passing a sculpture from the Parthenon marbles at the Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia

Visitors passing a sculpture from the Parthenon marbles at the Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia

From:
Hurriyet Daily News

Turkey backs Greek fight for Elgin Marbles
ATHENS – Anadolu Agency
December/07/2014

Turkey on Dec. 6 announced its support for Greece’s fight to get back from Britain the famous Elgin Marbles – ancient Greek sculptures also known as the Parthenon Marbles which were taken from Athens in the 19th century.

The dispute over the British Museum’s possession of the sculptures, taken by British diplomat Lord Elgin in 1803, flared this week when Greece learned of the unprecedented loan of one sculpture to a Russian museum.
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December 7, 2014

Arrogance & duplicity – the British loan of the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 2:01 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Kwame Opoku response here to the latest actions taken by the British Museum – sending one of the Parthenon Sculptures on loan to the Hermitage.

He makes some very good points. MacGregor talks about “cultural diplomacy”, but the method by which he practises it is likely to create just as much bad as it does good. What is the benefit of ingratiating yourself to one institution with whom you already have a close working relationship, if at the same time you cause deep anger and resentment to an entire country, which has regularly worked with and supported your institution in the past?

For reasons that still confound me, MacGregor believes that the Parthenon Sculpture was the most appropriate item to lend. How it was somehow more appropriate in this situation not to lend either a Russian, or British artefacts. Had they not been snubbed in such a peculiar way, I’m sure that Greece might previously have considered loaning Ancient Greek, or perhaps Orthodox Icons (showing the common heritage of Orthodox Christianity that the countries share) to Russia.

Greece has in the past made every effort to be cooperative with the British Museum. Even in the letter sent to them refusing a loan of the Marbles, the British Museum acknowledges this. Clearly cooperation counts for little in the game that MacGregor is playing and it is time for Greece to re-think their strategy.

Part of the Parthenon Marbles, the British Museum plans to loan the river-god Ilissos to the Hermitage in St Petersburg

Part of the Parthenon Marbles, the British Museum plans to loan the river-god Ilissos to the Hermitage in St Petersburg

From:
Kwame Opoku (by email)

Arrogance, duplicity and defiance with no end: British Museum loans Parthenon Marble to Russia
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Friday morning, MacGregor said he hoped the Greek government would be delighted that the sculpture would now be on display to a new audience”.

As if to reinforce its defiance against the will of the British people and the vast majority of States, the UNESCO, United Nations and all those who have urged that the British Museum return the Parthenon/Elgin Marbles to Greece, the venerable museum that is known to hoard thousands of looted artefacts of others, has sent one of the Parthenon Marbles to Russia on loan for an exhibition from 6 December 2014 until 18 January 2015. (1)

The headless statue of a Greek river god will be displayed in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg as part of the celebrations for the institution’s 250th anniversary. Though the Director of the Museum and the Board of Trustees are delighted with the loan, they have not disclosed the terms of the arrangement with Russia.
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December 6, 2014

Response from IARPS to Russia Parthenon Sculpture loan

Posted at 10:01 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, International Association

The International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures has issued a press release today regarding the surprise announcement that one of the Parthenon Sculptures had been shipped to Russia by the British Museum.

From:
International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures

PARTHENON STATEMENT FROM CHAIR OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE REUNIFICATION OF THE PARTHENON SCULPTURES
05 December 2014

The International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures* today criticized the British Museum’s decision to send a major sculpture from the Parthenon as a loan to Russia.

The Chairman of the International Association said the loan was an offence not only to the Greek people but to the entire international community.
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Marbles Reunited statement on Russia Parthenon Marbles loan

Posted at 9:11 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Andrew George, Chair of the Marbles Reunited campaign, has issued a statement on the recent loan of one of the Parthenon Sculptures to Russia by the British Museum.

From:
Marbles Reunited

NEWS RELEASE
Friday 5th December 2014
For immediate release
“IF WE CAN LEND TREASURERS TO HOSTILE RUSSIA THEN WE CAN LOAN PARTHENON SCULPTURES TO OUR FRIENDS IN THEIR PLACE OF ORIGIN”

British Museum accused of snubbing the Greeks

The MP who chairs the British campaign for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures, Liberal Democrat Andrew George, criticised the British Museum for its decision to snub the Greek request for the return of the Sculptures and for lending them instead “to a country which has backed rebels who kill British citizens”. Andrew George chairs the British Campaign Group Marbles Reunited and has advocated the return of the Sculptures to Athens.

Mr George said, “British Museum Director, Neil MacGregor, justifies his decision by claiming that these Sculptures should be ‘shared and enjoyed by as many people…as possible”. But these Sculptures have not been ‘shared and enjoyed’ by the Greeks for over 200 years, since they were purloined in a dodgy deal by Lord Elgin during a period when Greece was occupied by the Ottomans!

“I sense that the British Museum’s grip on the Sculptures is weakening. If Britain did the decent and gracious thing, and returned the Sculptures, the Greeks have made clear that they would willingly loan many other Greek artefacts and great works to Britain so that they could be ‘shared and enjoyed by as many people…as possible’”.

He recently raised the question of their return in Parliament. He has also engaged in debate on the subject; joining Stephen Fry to succeed in a debate to persuade a large London audience that returning the Sculptures would be “a decent and gracious act”.

– ENDS –

December 5, 2014

British Museum Director on Parthenon Marbles Hermitage loan

Posted at 6:26 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

British Museum Director Neil MacGregor sets out why he believes that the loan of the Parthenon Sculptures to the hermitage in St Petersburg is entirely appropriate.

As expected, it falls back on MacGregor’s old favourite reasoning – that is to say, the Universal Museum. While what MacGregor describes as Universal Museums may have existed for a long time though, you will not see any mention in the press of such a concept prior to 2002.

We must remember that these so called Universal Museums are entirely self appointed entities. Outside of the new world, almost all have their roots in the era of colonialism & empires. They never asked the permission of the other countries whose artefacts they exhibit. They can only justify it now, through being bigger than the other museums. It is an incredibly elite club & the barriers to entry (both legal & financial) are such that it would be almost important to create similar institutions today.

It is interesting that MacGregor makes much of the loan of the Cyrus Cylinder to Iran – conveniently forgetting that for years the British Museum reneged on a prior reciprocal loan agreement to the infuriation of Iran. The loan only eventually proceeded after Iran threatened to withdraw all cultural cooperation with the museum.

It is clear that the Hermitage has cooperated with the British Museum numerous times in the past, meaning that they are in the institutions good books. However, this is also the case with Greece, that has on regular occasions loaned artefacts & never made any threats to withdraw cooperation in the way that Iran did.

He ends with a justification for the choice of the Parthenon Sculptures (rather than any of the eight million or so (by their own estimation) other items in their collection). This section is where it gets particularly hazy, with the rationale essentially boiling down to the fact that Pericles (under whose instruction the Parthenon was built) was a great statesman who understood the value of being seen as an ambassador abroad. From this vagueness, he jumps straight onto the presumption that “Pericles would applaud the journey of Ilissos to Russia”.

Certainly, there is some slight value to this justification, but the same could be said of many other items in the British Museum’s collection. And if this is seen as a valid reasoning behind a loan, then surely the overwhelming moral & contextual argument of unification presented by Greece presents a far more compelling case?

Part of the Parthenon Marbles, the British Museum plans to loan the river-god Ilissos to the Hermitage in St Petersburg

Part of the Parthenon Marbles, the British Museum plans to loan the river-god Ilissos to the Hermitage in St Petersburg

From:
British Museum

December 5, 2014 • 12:15 am
Loan of a Parthenon sculpture to the Hermitage: a marble ambassador of a European ideal
Neil MacGregor, Director, British Museum

The British Museum is a museum of the world, for the world and nothing demonstrates this more than the loan of a Parthenon sculpture to the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg to celebrate its 250th anniversary.

The British Museum opened its doors in 1759, just five years before the Hermitage. Sisters, almost twins, they are the first great museums of the European Enlightenment. But they were never just about Europe. The Trustees of the British Museum were set up by Parliament to hold their collection to benefit not only the citizens of Great Britain, but ‘all studious and curious persons’ everywhere. The Museum today is the most generous lender in the world, sending great Assyrian objects to China, Egyptian objects to India and Iranian objects to the United States – making a reality of the Enlightenment ideal that the greatest things in the world should be seen and studied, shared and enjoyed by as many people in as many countries as possible.
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Greece’s Parthenon Marbles loan request that was rejected

Posted at 5:21 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Nobody can have missed the British Museum’s loan to the Hermitage of one of the Parthenon Sculptures.

The more I look into it though, the more questions it raises.

Museum loans do not normally happen under cover of darkness – yet this loan was only announced once the sculpture had already been packed up and left the museum – why was this the case.

Greece has for many years taken a policy of quiet diplomacy, but it appears that this pays absolutely no dividends in the game that the British Museum is currently playing.

I can understand that the British Museum might have wanted to make a loan to the Hermitage for their anniversary. Quite why this had to be the Parthenon Marbles is also unclear (although MacGregor argues otherwise).

There are positive points though. In the past, it has often been hinted that there are items in the British Museum’s collection that are too important, to integral to the collection to be loaned, but this latest move clearly shows that it possible for the Parthenon Marbles to leave the building, even if it is only one piece at a time.

The British Museum also states that ‘no talks had ever been held with the Greek government about a loan of part of the Parthenon marbles. “To date they have always made it clear that they would not return them. That rather puts the conversation on pause,”

This last statement is clearly untrue, as there are letters on file relating to loan requests dating to 2002, between Sir John Boyd (then chair of the British Museum trustees) and Evangelos Venizelos (the Greek Minister of Culture). The Director of the British Museum was then, as it is now, Neil MacGregor.

Thank you to Dorothy King for alerting me to the presence of this letter. CLick on the images to view them full size.

Letter from British Museum Trustees Chair, Sir John Boyd, to Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos rejecting a loan request - Page 1

Letter from British Museum Trustees Chair, Sir John Boyd, to Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos rejecting a loan request – Page 1

Letter from British Museum Trustees Chair, Sir John Boyd, to Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos rejecting a loan request - Page 2

Letter from British Museum Trustees Chair, Sir John Boyd, to Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos rejecting a loan request – Page 2

So, not only does the museum deny that a loan request was ever made despite having written:

…it remains the opinion of the Board of Trustees that the Parthenon Sculptures in the collection of the British Museum can not be lent to the museum currently under development in Athens, whether in the manner you proposed or for a temporary period.

But they previously hinted that despite any “no loan” list, the Parthenon Sculptures could not be loaned at all:

…we do believe there is a prima facie assumption against the lending of key objects in the Museum’s collections which are normally on display and which the public reasonably expect to see in the Museum. The sculptures are precisely among that group of key objects indispensable to the Museum’s essential, universal purpose, and thus fall into the category of objects that can not be lent.

Just in cases anyone was unclear after the above statement, the letter goes on to reiterate:

I am bound in all frankness, to repeat that I cannot envisage the circumstances under which the Trustees would regard it as being in the Museum’s interest, or consistent with its duty, to endorse a loan, permanent or temporary, of the Parthenon Sculptures in its collections.

The above statement make no comment regards who the applicant is – merely that the Parthenon Sculptures can not be loaned, not under any circumstances, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Clearly different rules apply however, depending who is asking…

A copy of the complete text of the letter follows below:

The British Museum
14 November 2002
H.E. Mr Evangelos Venizelos
Minister of Culture
Hellenic Ministry of Culture

Your Excellency

The Parthenon Sculptures in the collections of the British Museum

It was a great pleasure to welcome you – though this was no, I know, your first visit – to the British Museum.

The Director and I are delighted to have held discussions with you and your colleagues on the Parthenon sculptures in the Museum’s collections and other matters. The exchanges suggested to me that there are many areas in which we can and should cooperate.

As I mentioned in our meeting, I am especially pleased to note that Dr Choremi, the Ephor of the Acropolis will speak at the Museum on Friday, 15 November, and that the British Museum is able to make generous loans to two exhibitions in Athens as part of the Cultural Olympiad in 2004. These are important examples of the fruitful cultural and academic relations that exist between us – and which can, I am sure, be developed further.

The Director and I naturally listened very carefully to what you had to say about the Parthenon Sculptures in our collections. I am grateful for the manner in which you approached the topic; grateful too for the understanding shown during the meeting for the Museum’s position. Nevertheless, it remains the opinion of the Board of Trustees that the Parthenon sculptures in the collections of the British Museum cannot be lent to the new museum currently under development in Athens, whether in the manner you proposed or for a temporary period.

Let me rehearse again the basis for our belief that the British Museum is the best possible place for these wonderful sculptures to be on display, as an essential chapter within the worldwide story of human cultural achievement. It is precisely this story which the Museum exists to tell through the rich and multi-faceted character of its worldwide collections. The ideas, aesthetics and skills of 5th century Greek civilisation are regarded here as elsewhere as central to this human experience. I am not sure that contemporary changes in political and economic attitudes, adduced at one point in our discussion, alter the point.

The Museum exists not only to delight but to instruct and provoke reflection. Its great collections, in close proximity, are seen by five million visitors every year entirely free of entry charge. The Parthenon Sculptures are integral to this unique experience.

When considering whether to make a loan the Trustees are required, by Act of Parliament, to have regard to the interest of the Museum’s visitors. While there is no list of objects that can never be lent, we do believe there is a prima facie assumption against the lending of key objects in the Museum’s collections which are normally on display and which the public reasonably expect to see in the Museum. The sculptures are precisely among that group of key objects indispensable to the Museum’s essential, universal purpose, and thus fall into the category of objects that can not be lent.

The Director and I much appreciated the opportunity to discuss these various matters frankly and in such a friendly context, and to establish friendly contact and undertake such an exchange of views between us. This must surely contribute to a relationship which we very much wish to promote and expand.

Again though, as I said in our meeting, I would not wish you to leave with the impression that any negotiation on the issue you raised is underway. This would be misleading. I am bound in all frankness, to repeat that I cannot envisage the circumstances under which the Trustees would regard it as being in the Museum’s interest, or consistent with its duty, to endorse a loan, permanent or temporary, of the Parthenon Sculptures in its collections.

I should like to end by thanking you for the kind gift of the coin replicas from the Numismatic Museum in Athens. They are especially appropriate ass a symbol of the co-operation that exists between us, in the light of the recent collaborative British Museum / Numismatic Museum Internet project, Presveis: One Currency for Europe, which, I was delighted to see, is available on the Ministry of Culture’s website.

Yours sincerely

John Boyd

Sir John Boyd
Chairman

British Museum can loan Parthenon Marbles, just not to Greece

Posted at 1:03 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

There are so many things wrong with this story that it is hard to know where to start. It seems that MacGregor is absolutely intent in snubbing Greece at all costs, to ingratiate the other so called Universal Museums of the world.

Grumpy art Historian has already written a good piece highlighting some of the many anachronisms with this approach.

It seems that the British Museum is currently more willing to lend artefacts to countries that regularly endorse the actions of terrorist groups (Iran) and countries that directly support rebel groups who blow up civilian airliners (Russia) than it is to lend to Greece.

In the past, Greece has made much of the benefits of its approach that involves quiet diplomacy to try & resolve the issue, but as time goes on, it becomes clear that this is not really moving things forward at all. There do not appear to be any rewards for good behaviour in this game.

I imagine that Britain’s & Russia’s museums will get on quite well together, afterall, Russia also has large amounts of disputed artworks, acquired during a variety of different means.

Part of the Parthenon Marbles, the British Museum plans to loan the river-god Ilissos to the Hermitage in St Petersburg

Part of the Parthenon Marbles, the British Museum plans to loan the river-god Ilissos to the Hermitage in St Petersburg

From:
Guardian

Parthenon marbles loaned to Russian museum
Chris Johnston
Friday 5 December 2014 00.55 GMT

Part of the Parthenon marbles have been allowed to leave Britain for the first time through a loan of a sculpture to a Russian museum.

The headless statue of a Greek river-god, Ilissos, will go on display in the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg on Friday to help celebrate the institution’s 250th anniversary.
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Christies halts sale of disputed Sardinian bronze age pagan icon

Posted at 10:50 am in Similar cases

Following growing levels of protest, Christies has put on hold the sale of a 4,500 year old Bronze Age statuette, thought to be worth over $1 million.

Sardinian politician Mauro Pili has led the campaign, asking the Auction House to provide more details of who the vendor is, and requesting that the seller proves that they are the legitimate owner of the artefact.

Disputed "mother goddess" icon from Sardinia

Disputed “mother goddess” icon from Sardinia

From:
Independent

Mother Goddess auction: Christie’s halts sale of ‘stolen’ $1m Bronze Age pagan icon after Sardinia campaigns for its return
Michael Day
Rome – Tuesday 02 December 2014

A campaign in Sardinia to reclaim a 4,500-year-old pagan idol from a US auction house is gathering pace ahead of its scheduled sale next week, as Italy steps up the fight against the theft of its precious cultural patrimony.

Christie’s in New York had listed the marble religious artefact Dea Madre, or Mother Goddess, dating from about 2500BC, for sale on 11 December. Auctioneers hoped to sell the Bronze Age statuette for as much as $1.2m (£770,000). But campaigners claimed an initial victory today after hearing that the sale had been put on hold.
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Call to return of Chronicles of Man from British Library

Posted at 10:37 am in Similar cases

The Manx branch of the Celtic League is making new calls for the Chronicles of Man to be permanently exhibited on the Isle of Man.

The Chronicles of Man are a medieval manuscript originating in the Isle of Man, but currently held by the British Library in London.

The Chronicles of Man, currently in the British Library

The Chronicles of Man,, currently in the British LibraryThe Chronicles of Man, currently in the British Library

From:
Isle of Man Today

Call to return Chronicles of Man
Published on the 04 December 2014 11:45

The Manx branch of the Celtic League is reviving a campaign to bring the Chronicles of Man home.

At its monthly meeting in November, it urged a renewed effort by the General Council of the League to pressure both the British and Manx governments to ensure the Chronicles of Man and the Isles are exhibited permanently in the Isle of Man.
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