Lee Rosenbaum has a disturbingly revealing Q and A with Timothy Potts on the new Getty Museum director’s views on antiquities collecting policy. I happen to agree with Potts that even with the 1970 rule now being adhered to by American museums, “there is still a huge amount of ongoing looting and this issue is not being addressed.” I also … Read More
The CNN story on the burning of the library in Egypt contains a telling vignette: At least one demonstrator was unaware that the structure was a library containing historical documents. “We had no idea it was a library. We love our country. Why were the military thugs on the rooftop of the building in the first place, throwing debris and … Read More
The burning of the Egyptian Scientific Institute in the midst of the chaos in Cairo is a cultural disaster on a par with the worst acts of destruction of heritage in recent years, arguably worse than the losses to the Iraq Museum (since stolen artifacts can still be recovered, whereas the burned original manuscripts are gone forever). Whether the fire … Read More
William Y. Brown, a nonresident Brookings Institution Senior Fellow who is former Science Advisor to the U.S. Interior Secretary and President of the Bishop Museum, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and Woods Hole Research Center,weighs in with a number of policy suggestions for how to make the best use of Libya’s heritage in the post-Ghaddafi era. Among other ideas, Brown … Read More
Iraq – National Museum of Iraq preparing for re-opening Heartening news from Iraq: the Iraq National Museum is reopening, for real this time it seems (after pseudo-openings for Paul Bremer in July 2003, and for Ahmed Chalabi in 2008 or 2009, among others).
For more information on how, before the revolution, the kleptocratic ruling family of Tunisia looted the country’s museum for artifacts to use as kitchen tables and columns around the swimming pool see Tunisia protects ancient treasures (Magharebia.com).
The National Geographic Channel is capitalizing on the interest in things Egyptian with a weeklong special: (Nat Geo Plans Weeklong Special on Egypt: “With events in Egypt making headlines, National Geographic Channel is plann…” Given that Zahi Hawass has been starring in shows as an “explorer-in-residence” for National Geographic, they will certainly have major access. We’ll have to wait and … Read More
The choices offered as possible answers to the SAFE poll question, “Should museums sell objects to cover operating costs?” are “Yes,” “It doesn’t matter to me,” “Museums should sell objects for acquisitions only,” and “Only if there is a publicly disclosed policy.” These choices reflect the general perception of what the options are for museums. But there is another option … Read More
George W. Bush’s utterly mendacious ghostwritten memoir contains only one mention of the looting of the Iraq National Museum. It comes in the context of a rare admission that “there was one important contingency for which we had not adequately prepared“…. For full post, go to The Punching Bag.
The Senate has just confirmed James Jeffrey as the new ambassador to Iraq. As part of the confirmation process, Jeffrey was posed a few questions in writing about the State Department’s policies regarding the protection of archaeological sites… To read the full post, go to The Punching Bag.