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SAFE Tour
Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York City
(Photo: Chetra Kotzas)

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In the U.S., if you encounter objects you suspect to have been stolen or illegally imported according to bilateral agreements with other countries, contact the FBI’s Art Crime Team, the country’s first national art-crime team.

Make sure the items you purchase have proper documentation, provenance and export permits if required. It is important to acquire good title to a piece, not mere possession. When in doubt, consult an attorney.

If you must purchase items from a conflict zone, we ask that you THINK TWICE:

The self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS, or ISIS or ISIL) is known to finance their terrorist activities of killing and destruction using funds raised from the sale of antiquities looted from ancient sites in Syria and Iraq. The extremist group has also destroyed numerous monuments, mosques and statues. SAFE believes that participating in the trade of these irreplaceable relics would be tantamount to funding not only the destruction of cultural heritage, but human life itself.

Questions? Please read “Five Reasons You Shouldn’t Buy That Ancient Artifact” by Kristina Killgrove.

SAFE encourages members of the public and attorneys general in the United States – who serve as caretakers of non-profit institutions, which include museums–to ask museums to discuss their acquisition policies and procedures

The U.S. government considers public opinion during open sessions when deciding on whether to enter into bilateral agreements with other countries to restrict importation of antiquities into the U.S. We urge anyone with information or comments relevant to one or more of the four determinations to voice their concern to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC) during these hearings.


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According to a 2000 Harris Poll among Americans:

90%

think laws should prevent importing artifacts from a country that does not want them exported.

96%

believe that there should be laws to protect archaeological resources.

85%

think people should be punished for taking artifacts from an archaeological site on publicly owned land.

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