Friday, November 20, 2009

Does Italy Only Send Long-Term Loans to Museums that Have Repatriated Objects?

During his testimony during the Nov. 13th CPAC hearing, Maxwell Anderson of the Indianapolis Museum of Art suggested that the only AAMD member museums that have benefited from long-term loans with Italy are those that have repatriated artifacts.

Patty Gerstenblith contested this allegation, mentioning the National Gallery of Art's Pompeii Exhibit. See She also noted that SMU has an exhibit of archaeological finds. Of course, one should note that while the NGA is an AAMD Member, it is also an instrumentality of the federal government, and the limited-time exhibit in question hardly qualifies as a "long-term" loan. . As for SMU, it excavates in Italy, and the exhibit apparently displayed finds of its own faculty and students. See Again, it is unclear how long that exhibit will run.

In any event, the current MOU with Italy does not link long-term loans to repatriation efforts. See:
Instead, Italy is supposed to promote agreements for long-term loans to all American Museums.

To solve this perceived problem, Anderson suggested that Italy should create a database of objects it is willing to lend on a long-term basis. It remains to be seen whether CPAC adopts this recommendation and whether it finds its way into the next MOU (assuming, of course, current restrictions are extended for another five years).


Larry Rothfield said...

Sorry, but I don't see the word "all" in the MOU. What I see is "case by case basis."

Cultural Property Observer said...

Perhaps I was unclear. The MOU suggests long-term loans under the MOU should be available to all museums and there is no requirement that artifacts need be repatriated first. You not suggesting "case by case" suggests otherwise are you?

Best wishes,

Peter Tompa