The Trade in Antiquities: Law, Cases, Ethics, and Staying Out of Trouble



1 February 2007

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

American University Washington College of Law, 4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Room 603, Washington, DC


In the past year, a former antiquities curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum and an American
antiquities dealer went on trial in Italy for conspiring to trade in stolen antiquities. At the same time, major museums in the United States, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Getty have returned antiquities to Italy and Greece. Through this slide-illustrated lecture, Professor Patty Gerstenblith will address the international market in antiquities and the ethical responsibilities of museums to avoid acquiring undocumented artifacts and works of art. The lecture will explore the importance of preserving archaeological context, the legal regime that aims to protect the archaeological heritage, and the need for museums, in fulfillment of their public educational purpose, to adopt stringent ethical acquisitions practices that will assist in the preservation of the past.




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