Monday, February 27, 2012

Turkey Moves Forward

While Greece is floundering, Turkey is moving forward through a major liberalization of its economy and political life. Now, the Turkish Government also appears to be taking a major step towards rational management of its cultural resources. See http://www.todayszaman.com/news-272221-controversy-over-price-tagging-of--artifacts-continues.html

According to the report,

The changes, which were proposed by the Board of Protection of Cultural and Natural Assets and first announced in the Official Gazette on Jan. 19, dictate that artifacts which are not being used by museums can be valued by a specially formed commission and sold.

Of course, while the Old Guard in the Military has been largely vanquished, the Old Guard in the Turkish Archaeological Establishment fights on:

The head of the ─░stanbul branch of the Archeological Association, Dr. Necmi Karul, told the Vatan daily in comments published on Feb. 18 that the changes undermine the most basic of archaeological principles, namely that any artifact from any period of history is part of a shared culture and should, thus, remain as such. Karul said the main benefactors of the change in the law will be private collectors who will be able to access valuable items, many of which can still be put to equally good use by being passed on to other museums for display or used in universities or other educational institutes for the purposes of teaching.

Yet, even in good times, there is never enough money to properly preserve, study and display everything. And while passing along artifacts to other institutions may sound reasonable and is probably a good idea for some artifacts, generating funds through sales would likely benefit the cultural establishment as whole much better. Of course, deaccession needs to done with due care, but realistically leaving valuable artifacts in storage is nothing but an invitation to theft or loss due to poor environmental controls.

1 comment:

Voz Earl said...

Agreed--this has the potential to be a fantastic development if implemented carefully.

Voz Earl