Activists continue calls for British Museum to ditch BP - Museums Association

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Activists continue calls for British Museum to ditch BP

BP or Not BP and Culture Unstained mount pressure on museum to discontinue the oil giant’s sponsorship
BP or Not BP at a previous protest in the British Museum
BP or Not BP at a previous protest in the British Museum Courtesy of BP or Not BP

BP or Not BP is to stage a new protest at London’s British Museum (BM) against its continuing sponsorship from the oil giant BP on Saturday, while pressure on the museum mounts from Culture Unstained for it to ditch the controversial funding.

This will be the fourth protest this month from climate activists directed at the museum. Extinction Rebellion Grandparents and Elders and Save Stonehenge have also staged protests, while and BP or Not BP targeted the Stonehenge exhibition at the beginning of April.

More than 300 people have pledged to take part in the forthcoming protest, titled Make BP History, which would make it the largest "climactivist" event since before Covid.

The group have previously smuggled a sea monster, a Viking longship and a giant Trojan horse into the museum.

Last week, a formal submission compiled by Culture Unstained and signed by professionals from the fields of climate science, archaeology and museum practice was sent to the British Museum’s board of trustees. 

The climate organisation’s submission outlines “how the potential harm of signing a new sponsorship agreement with BP demonstrably outweighs the benefits and would be inconsistent with the museum’s commitments on sustainability”.

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A spokesperson from the British Museum said: "The British Museum respects other people’s right to express their views and allows peaceful protest onsite at the museum as long as there is no risk to the museum’s collection, staff or visitors.

"The British Museum receives funding from BP, a long-standing corporate partner, to support the museum’s mission and provide public benefit for a global audience through their support of our temporary exhibition programme. Without external support, much programming and other major projects would not happen. The British Museum is grateful to all those who support its work in times of reduced funding.

"The director and trustees think carefully about the nature and quality of sponsorship before accepting. There is a copy of the BM's acceptance of donations policy on our website: Acceptance of Donations and Sponsorship Policy

"The museum is run solely by its trustees and staff as set out in the British Museum Act 1963. All decisions are made by the trustees and staff through our governance structure and in the best interests of the museum as a charity. The support they provide helps realise the vision and hard work of curatorial staff and enables our programming to be made available to the widest possible audience."

The mounting pressure from climate activists on the British Museum comes after the National Portrait Gallery and Scottish Ballet cut ties to the oil firm in February.

Comments (1)

  1. Jonathan Kempster says:

    “The group have” [sic].

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