When Museums Do the Right Thing

17 May 2013 8:11 PM | Anonymous

When Museums Do the Right Thing

STONES and bones rarely make the front page, and even less frequently in the same month, but this has been no ordinary month. And it’s not over yet.

On May 4, The New York Times announced that the Metropolitan Museum of Art would voluntarily repatriate twin 10th century statues to Cambodia, after the museum received “dispositive” evidence that the pieces were products of the illicit antiquities trade.

A few miles away and a few days later, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security celebrated the not-so-voluntary repatriation of a looted 70-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus bataar (a relative of Tyrannosaurus rex) to Mongolia, having seized it from a self-described “commercial paleontologist” (and now confessed smuggler) named Eric Prokopi. Taken from the Gobi Desert, the dinosaur bones were seized last year after Prokopi tried to sell them in violation of U.S. and Mongolian law.


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