Museum Acquisitions

Neil Brodie, Morag M. Kersel and Kathryn Walker Tubb

in Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, and the Antiquities Trade

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780813029726
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039145 | DOI:
Museum Acquisitions

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This chapter describes the museum acquisitions policies. One of the first explicit statements of an ethical acquisitions policy was by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, which announced in April 1970 that it would no longer acquire an antiquity without convincing documentation of the item's legitimate pedigree. The Field Museum in Chicago followed suit in 1972. It is significant that both of these institutions can be broadly characterized as anthropology or natural history museums, with their commitment to an educational agenda. It is also argued that what is shown in a major museum on temporary loan is as relevant as the permanent acquisition. In addition, it makes explicit certain principles and invites museum curators and directors to acknowledge these and to follow them. It first introduces the problem of the illicit market. The unfortunate consequences of a 1976 exhibition of Cycladic figurines at the Badisches Landesmuseum in Karlsruhe, Germany, are shown as well. The destruction on Kero is addressed. The chapter summarizes by arguing that it is the major museums of the world that establish the ethos for the private collector.

Keywords: museum acquisitions policies; illicit trafficking; antiquities; illicit market; Badisches Landesmuseum; Karlsruhe; Kero; private collector

Chapter.  5509 words. 

Subjects: Archaeological Methodology and Techniques

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