We summarize for you the scandal that shook the London Museum after the disappearance of nearly 2,000 works of art in reserves

We summarize for you the scandal that shook the London Museum after the disappearance of nearly 2,000 works of art in reserves

Museum director Hartwig Fischer resigned on Friday after admitting the institution’s failure to respond to warnings about thefts that had been noted for several years.

Awkward trips. “about 2000” Works of art have been stolen from the British Museum in London, according to an assessment by the foundation’s president, revealed on Saturday 26 August. Faced with the scandal, museum director Hartwig Fischer resigned. The British Museum houses one of the most important collections in the world, with eight million objects, of which around 80,000 are on public display. Chaired by George Osborne, former Chancellor of the Exchequer to David Cameron, the Foundation is proud to serve its six million annual visitors. “Two million years of human history and culture”.

Franceinfo takes a look at the twists and turns of a case that began in 2021 and which turned out to be Particularly inconvenient for one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world.

Theft of jewelry and semi-precious stones

Visitors can rest assured that the famous Rosetta Stone is still there. the majority of beings “disappeared, stolen or damaged”, they “small portions” Preserved in reserves that have not been exposed to the public recently and serve Mainly for research purposes.explains the museum. “This includes gold jewelry, semi-precious stones or glassware dating from the fifteenth century BC to the nineteenth century AD,” The institution had set the middle of last August, announcing this An employee was dismissed, she called the police, and an independent investigation was opened to shed light on and find out about these thefts.

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The museum confirmed that it is doing its best to find the stolen pieces. Some have already been found, but in all, about 2,000 works have been stolen and appraised George Osborneduring an interview with BBC. “We think we’ve been victims of theft for a long time and frankly more could be done to prevent it.”acknowledge who was appointed in June 2021.

Parts found on eBay

The museum was informed early in 2021 of possible thefts by several art dealers. Itay Gradel, a gem dealer based in Denmark, alerted the London institution that at least three stones from his collection had been put up for sale on eBay, according to The Guardian. BBCwho viewed the correspondence. The museum’s then deputy director, Jonathan Williams, replied that he had not noticed ‘No sign of embezzlement’. In all, the collector could have purchased approximately 70 items on eBay, details Watchman.

The case takes on another dimension in 2022, when Hartwig Fischer, the museum’s director, finally orders a full audit, and discoversbigger problem. The police are then alerted and disciplinary action begins. Why this lack of communication on flights at the UK’s most famous museum? request for London’s Metropolitan Police, who wanted their investigation to be conducted peacefully, according to the museum.

fired employee

toThe British Museum announced on August 16 that it had fired one of its staff after it became aware that pieces from its collection had gone missing. “The directors of the British Museum were deeply concerned when they learned earlier this year that items from the collection had been stolen.” George Osborne, the museum’s president, said in a press release: He added: “We have caught the police, imposed emergency measures to tighten security, conducted an independent investigation into what happened and the lessons learned, and used all the disciplinary powers available to us over the person we hold responsible.” Then confirm to the enterprise.

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The fired employee, Peter Higgs, is a well-known curator in art circles who was recently promoted to oversee the Greek sculptures, despite suspicions, according to information from the FBI. guardian. It is a more sensitive article because the Parthenon Marbles are the subject of a deep conflict with Athens, which demands the return of the property.

The director resigns

Almost fifteen days after this employee was fired, the page is far from being turned. And the controversy continued in the British media, to the extent that the director of the prestigious institution, which was founded in 1753, was forced to resign on Friday. Hartwig Fischer, who has held his position since 2016, admitted failure Responding to flight warnings since 2021. “The responsibility for this failure ultimately rests with the director.”I confess. But George Osborne confirmed that Hartwig Fischer did “acted honourably” And No one ever suspected His integrity, his devotion to his work, or his love of the museum.” to mentioned Watchman.

British Museum deputy director Jonathan Williams has also agreed to step down From his position until the completion of the investigation, according to the British newspaper.

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