British Museum Recovers 626 Lost or Stolen Items

British Museum Recovers 626 Lost or Stolen Items
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London (Parliament News) – The British Museum has retrieved 268 more missing or stolen items, totaling 626 recovered. Around 2,000 items went missing last year, some sold on eBay. Former curator Dr Peter Higgs denies involvement.

The British Museum has found another 268 items that went missing or were robbed from its storerooms, bringing the total number retrieved to 626.

What Led to the Recovery of Stolen Museum Artifacts?

About 2,000 items were located last year to be missing or lost, some of which had been marketed on eBay. Dr Peter Higgs, a senior curator in the museum’s Greek and Rome department, was dismissed after he was suspected of being implicated in the disappearances. He has denied the allegations.

Hartwig Fischer, the museum’s head at the time, resigned in August after failing to properly react to warnings about the suspected robberies of thousands of objects in 2021. His deputy, Jonathan Williams, left his post in December.

What Actions Is the British Museum Taking Post-Theft?

In a statement on Friday, the museum stated its recovery operation was global, with objects uncovered across Europe and North America. It said it was following new leads on about 100 items. George Osborne, the museum’s chair, expressed the recovery of more than 600 items was a “remarkable result”.

“Few expected to see this day, and even I had my doubts. When we announced the devastating news that objects had been stolen from our collection, people understandably assumed that was it – we were unlikely to ever see more than a handful of them again. That’s usually the history with thefts like this,” he stated.

“But the team at the British Museum refused to give up. Through clever detective work and a network of well-wishers, we’ve achieved a remarkable result: more than 600 of the objects are back with us, and a further 100 have been identified – in total almost half the stolen items that we could recover.” Osborne said the hunt for missing objects would continue.

How Effective Was the Museum’s Global Recovery Operation?”

The museum undertook an independent review of security last summer after objects including gold jewellery and gems of semiprecious stones and glass dating from the 15th century BC to the 19th century AD were discovered to be missing, stolen or damaged.

Most of the missing items were small fragments kept in a storeroom belonging to one of the museum’s collections. None had recently been on public exhibition, and they were kept mostly for academic and research purposes.

The independent examination recommended in December that the museum keep an extensive register of all items in its collections. It made further suggestions on risk management, auditing, governance and security. The museum carries about 8m historical artefacts on behalf of the nation.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.