The new director of the British museum, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne hinted at the possibility for return of the stolen Parthenon Sculptures to Greece in the form of a loan.
Osborne made the suggestion in an piece he wrote for the UK Times titled: “It’s right to be proud of the British Museum.”
Culture warriors demand we choose sides but it’s possible to recognise both the great
Osborne is convinced that the Parthenon Sculptures were legitimately purchased and not stolen from the Acropolis.
“We are just a museum. We cannot alone resolve these contradictions. Instead, we can help do what we’ve always done: educate, inform and engage. We should do so with confidence.
“Sure, there are those who question our right to exist — they did back in 1753 and then do so again in 2021. Of course, there are those who demand the return of objects they believe we have no right to hold. That is not new either. Lord Byron thought the Elgin marbles should be back at the Parthenon.
Our response is not to be dismissive. We are open to lending our artefacts to anywhere who can take good care of them and ensure their safe return — which we do every year, including to Greece. We’re leading the work in Benin City to excavate its past and build a museum space to display its beautiful bronzes.
“But nor are we embarrassed or defensive. Almost three centuries on, we remain one of the very few places on earth where you can see the great civilisations of the world side by side.
“Today there is no shortage of forces trying to divide us from each other, separate us into silos and ensure the conversation is easy because we never meet anyone different who disagrees with us. The best response to this fragmenting society is to remind us of all that we share and of how our histories and cultures are all connected.
“Museums of culture should not shrink in the face of the culture wars. We need to tell the story of our common humanity. That’s why the case for the British Museum has never been stronger than it is today.” wrote Osborne.
Only last week Greek City Times published that Italy was returning a fragment of the Parthenon sculptors on Loan
The Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports announced that Italy will return a fragment of the Parthenon Sculptures, which has been on loan as part of a cultural exchange.
At a November 30 meeting of the Central Archaeological Council, journalists were informed that the transaction would be initiated at its next meeting, scheduled to take place before the end of 2021.
The resolution of the year long discussion represents a breakthrough for the two nations, both aggrieved by the theft of their peerless wealth of antiquities over the centuries, Artnet reported.
The fragment, from stone VI on the eastern frieze of the Parthenon, can currently be seen at the Museo Archeologico Antonio Salinas in Palermo, Sicily.
Under conditions dictated by Italian law, the piece will travel back to Greece on a four-year loan, with the intent to extend for a further four years.