Should there be tougher sanctions for museums that break the code of ethics?

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Rebecca Atkinson
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The Museums Association (MA) may introduce new sanctions for museums that break the code of ethics following the sale of an ancient Egyptian Sekhemka statue by Northampton Borough Council last month.

The MA has previously barred museums that breach the code of ethics from membership of the MA. Three local authorities – Croydon, Bury and Derbyshire – have been barred from membership in the past 25 years.

But following Northampton’s controversial sale, the board will consider whether tougher measures are needed to deter museums considering financially-motivated disposal that do not meet best practice standards. The MA’s ethics committee is also consulting on the scope of the code of ethics with a view to widening its focus beyond collections.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Front Row, the MA’s president David Anderson said: “We have real concerns that this rogue sale will encourage other museums and local authorities to sell treasures.”

Sharon Heal, head of publications and events, said in an interview with BBC Radio Northampton that the MA would look to convene a meeting with sector bodies to look at sanctions that might be applied, which could mean them not being able to access funding in the future.  

Should there be tougher sanctions for museums that break the code of ethics? Vote in the poll and have your say in the comment box below.




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