Showing results 1 - 12 of 33 for the month of December, 2010.

December 31, 2010

Benevento Missal finaly returns home to Italy because of Nazi loot restitution laws

Posted at 12:07 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the return of a manuscript from the British Library to Benevento in Italy. The return was made possible by new laws allowing the return of items looted during the Nazi era.

The Art Newspaper

Benevento Missal returns home
Sixty-five years after the end of the second world war, the precious manuscript is the first item of Nazi-era loot to be returned by a UK national museum
By Martin Bailey | Web only
Published online 24 Nov 10 (News)

BENEVENTO, ITALY. Laureato Maio, the 84-year-old cathedral librarian, lifted the early 12th-century missal from its box, and brought it to his lips. He closed his eyes and kissed the bound codex for a full minute, deep in thought. On 11 November, 65 years after the end of the World War II, the precious manuscript from Benevento (near Naples) became the first item of Nazi-era loot to be returned by a UK national museum, in this case the British Library.

Maio is the 49th librarian at Benevento Cathedral since records began, in the year 998. He remembers the chapter library in the late 1930s, in his early teens, and as a young seminary student he witnessed the terrible destruction wrought on his city by allied bombing in 1943. The cathedral was almost totally destroyed, but its manuscripts were saved. However, soon afterwards one of the early codices disappeared: a missal written in Benevento’s unique script soon after 1100.
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December 30, 2010

Austrian commission rules that Nazi looted art should be returned

Posted at 8:09 pm in Similar cases

An art commission set up by Austria’s Ministry of Culture has ruled that the country’s Leopold Museum should return seven Nazi looted paintings to their rightful owners.

Bloomberg News

Nazi-Looted Art Should be Returned by Museum, Austrian Commission Rules
By Jonathan Tirone – Nov 24, 2010 10:06 AM GMT

Austria’s Leopold Museum should return seven Nazi-looted paintings by Egon Schiele and Anton Romako to their rightful owners, said an art commission set up by the country’s Ministry of Culture.

Five Schiele paintings and two Romako works should be returned, the ministry said yesterday on its website. The paintings had belonged to Maurice Eisler and Karl Maylaender, both Jews persecuted by Nazis, according to the commission. The decision is non-binding.
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Visitor facilities at Greek museums & archaeological sites to be upgraded

Posted at 8:08 pm in Acropolis, Greece Archaeology

The New Acropolis Museum, as one of the most recently opened tourist sites in Greece is lucky enough to have high quality facilities for visitors, such as disabled access provisions. Many other sites in Greece are less fortunate however. A new initiative aims to try and solve this problem by upgrading many of the other sites to make them more easily accessible to all visitors.

Athens News Agency

Plan on sites services

ANa-Mpa/The culture and tourism ministry on Wednesday outlined a plan to improve services at Greek museums and archaeological sites, especially in terms of disabled access and availability of water.

The new programme follows a study that revealing a lack of vital services in some 150 museums around the country, including some of the most important and most popular sites.
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British Museum to take over some roles from defunct government quango

Posted at 8:00 pm in British Museum

Following on from this earlier article, it appears that the British Museum once again being treated as an organisation that is not entirely independent of the government.

In this instance, the British Museum is taking over the role of administering the Portable Antiquities Scheme from the MLA which is being disbanded. This is an interesting development, as while it can be carried out by any organisation, it does to a certain extent pull the museum closer to the government, removing some of its independence & impartiality. This separation from the government is regularly emphasised when dealing with restitution requests, where the assertion is made that they are a matter to be dealt with entirely by the trustees of the British Museum. At the same time though, actions such as this & the previous one over denial of access to funding indicate that the government continues to maintain a strong hold over the museum & could, if it chose to, influence the actions of the museum.

Museums Association

ACE takes over MLA functions
Sharon Heal

Speaking this morning at the British Museum, culture minister Ed Vaizey announced that Arts Council England (ACE) is likely to take over the functions of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).

If approved, all of MLA’s functions will transfer to ACE, including Renaissance, cultural property and accreditation by March 2012. The export reviewing committee, the government indemnity scheme and the acceptance in lieu scheme will also be transferred.
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December 23, 2010

Were the disputed artefacts glossed over in the History of the world in 100 objects?

Posted at 2:01 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The BBC’s series – A history of the world in 100 objects covered various artefacts whose ownership was disputed, many people aren’t happy with the way that this fact was only given cursory coverage, focussing on the artefact rather than its history.

Modern Ghana

An Akan drum and the British Museum’s history of the world
Columnist: Kofi Amenyo

So it is true that human beings and human culture began in Africa, eh? Homo sapiens evolved in Africa at least 150,000 years ago. The fact was brought home to us again when the director of the British Museum (BM), Neil MacGregor, in collaboration with BBC, selected 100 items from the museum’s vast collection to tell the history of the world in a hundred 15-minute programmes on Radio 4.

Human life started in Black Africa – specifically in present day Tanzania. When the narrator tells us that “we all have Africa in our DNA” one feels proud to be African. Two items at the beginning of the series (2 and 3) were from the East African Rift Valley: the Olduvai Stone Chopper and the Olduvai Handaxe. Both have the distinction of being the oldest objects in the BM. They are 1.8 million years old!
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December 14, 2010

Yale University’s Peabody Museum to return Peruvian artefacts

Posted at 2:02 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the decision by Yale University to return the disputed artefacts from Machu Picchu currently held by the Peabody Museum, to Peru.

Yale Daily News

Yale to return Peruvian artifacts
Online Exclusive
By Drew Henderson
Sunday, November 21, 2010

UPDATED SUNDAY 11:59 p.m. Yale and Peru are formalizing an agreement to return Inca artifacts found by Hiram Bingham III 1898 to Peru, according to a statement released Sunday night by the Yale Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

The relics will all ultimately be returned to Peru, University President Richard Levin said in a Saturday interview. They will be returned over the next two years, with those most suitable for museum display being returned in time for the centenary of Bingham’s scientific discovery of Machu Picchu in July 2011, the statement said.
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China executes official for stealing protected cultural property

Posted at 1:52 pm in Similar cases

Nowadays, China is serious about protecting its cultural heritage. I think this story probably says more about China’s approach to dealing with crimes than it does about their efforts to protect cultural property, as I don’t think many people could argue that execution was a suitable punishment in this case.


China executes official for plundering cultural relics
Source:IANS Fri, Nov 19, 2010 at 16:10

Beijing, Nov 19 (IANS) China Friday executed an official for stealing and selling cultural relics protected by the state, reports Xinhua.

Li Haitao was the chief of the cultural relics protection authority of the imperial garden in the Hebei provincial capital of Chengde.
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Stolen statue spotted in Manhattan gallery by Italian policeman

Posted at 1:45 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the statue located by chance in a New York gallery thirty years after being stolen from a museum in Rome.

New York Post

Roamin’ cop nabs hot art
Italian sleuth spots statue in NYC gallery
Last Updated: 7:36 AM, November 20, 2010

An eagle-eyed Italian cop was hailed as a hero yesterday for spotting a precious stolen statue in a Manhattan art gallery — leading to the miraculous homecoming of that artifact and another filched sculpture.

The items, stolen in Italy in the 1980s and worth about $680,000 apiece, were unveiled in a small museum outside Rome, thanks to the police art-squad expert who was on vacation when he saw one of them during a stroll up Madison Avenue.
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December 13, 2010

Yale agrees to return Machu Picchu artefacts to Peru

Posted at 10:31 pm in Similar cases

After resorting to numerous ways to increase pressure on Yale University, it now looks as though Peru’s attempts to secure the return of artefacts may have been successful. It is worth bearing in mind though that agreements such as this can fall though for man reasons. Previously Yale agreed to return the same artefacts in 2007, but this never went ahead and the reasons given tend to vary depending on which side you speak to.

Bloomberg News

Yale to Return Incan Artifacts Taken a Century Ago, Peru’s President Says
By John Quigley – Nov 20, 2010 5:15 PM GMT

Yale University, the third-oldest U.S. college, has agreed to return Incan artifacts taken from Peru a century ago, President Alan Garcia said.

Ernesto Zedillo, a Yale professor and a former Mexican president, promised yesterday to return the artifacts, which were excavated by archaeologist and Yale Professor Hiram Bingham from the Machu Picchu citadel in the southern Andes in 1912, Garcia said in statement dated yesterday and posted on the presidential website.
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How the art of plundering evolved into the science of archaeology

Posted at 10:21 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

In its early days, archaeology was far less the science that it is today, and far more an exercise in obtaining artefacts for personal gain, whether to be sold or to boost the reputation of the finder. Over the years, things have evolved greatly – the looting of ancient sites is now looked down on by most people, although museums often hang onto artefacts acquired during this earlier era, despite the fact that they would never be able to condone similar actions by archaeologists today.

Hi-Desert Star

Early archeology an adventure in plunder
By Rebecca Unger
Published: Saturday, November 20, 2010 2:26 AM CST

YUCCA VALLEY — “Archeological Discoveries” were on the menu for the Hi-Desert Nature Museum’s November Brown Bag Lunch lecture. Museum Supervisor Lynne Richardson introduced an assortment of characters, from the “antiquarians” of the 19th century to 1920’s Indiana Jones prototype Roy Chapman Andrews.

Many well-to-do Europeans were traveling and collecting treasures in the early 19th century with no scientific organization, Richardson said. One of them, former circus performer and inventor Giovanni Belzoni, traveled to Cairo in 1815, where he was convinced that there was money in exporting antiquities to Britain. In his first expedition, he undertook to move a giant royal statue from the Temple of Luxor for the British Museum — making him popular in Britain but not in his host country.
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One day the New Acropolis Museum will help to reassemble the Parthenon

Posted at 10:13 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

Many museums have cafes or restaurants attached to them. In some cases the restaurant has become as much a destination as the museum itself. The restaurant at the New Acropolis Museum is arguably one of the best, with views to the Acropolis from its terrace, as well as good, reasonably priced food. It is one of the many ways that this museum breaks the mould in comparison to other state owned Greek Museums.


Reassembling the Parthenon
Nov 19, 2010

The best museums are those open in the evening. Funding is obviously an issue behind the reason why museums often share banking hours (which are admittedly more generous than a generation ago), but to walk around a gallery, with no large tourist groups and little noise, make for a great evening. Plus for large city museums, it offers folks to entertain clients or guests—and if there’s a decent restaurant, who would object to a night out amidst timeless art and antiquities.

The Acropolis Museum in Athens has mastered this approach. Built at a sum of 130 million euros, it opened last year and does not disappoint. The structure is brilliant: as you walk in, you see ruins of ancient Athens beneath you. As you enter, antiquities found from local excavation sites like the main hall. Go up a level, and sculptures are arranged in a breathless arrangement, and give you an idea of how majestic the Acropolis, and the Parthenon, must have been at their height.
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December 12, 2010

Tutankhamun treasures to be returned to Egypt

Posted at 11:53 pm in Similar cases

Further coverage of the decision by New York’s Metropolitan Museum to return 19 artefacts to Egypt.

The Daily Star (Dhaka)

Friday, November 12, 2010
New York Museum to return artefacts to Egypt

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is returning to Egypt 19 small objects that were entombed for centuries with ancient Egypt’s “boy king,” officials announced Wednesday.

A small bronze dog and a sphinx bracelet-element were attributed with certainty to Tutankhamun’s splendid burial chamber, which was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922 in the Valley of Kings, the museum and the Supreme Council of Antiques of Egypt said.
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