Museum Repatriation : The Egyptian Revolution

1039 Words Nov 12th, 2015 5 Pages
Museum Repatriation
In 2011, the Egyptian Revolution sparked not only dramatic social and political changes in Egypt, but also drastic changes around the world. For years the former Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs, Zahi Hawass, unapologetically demanded the return of some of Ancient Egypt’s most valuable treasures including: the Rosetta Stone, the Statue of Hatshepsut, the Luxor Obelisk, the Zodiac Ceiling and Nefertiti’s Bust. He went as far as to formally demand them back and label them as ‘stolen artifacts’, even though he openly admitted Egypt has no legal claim to them. The chances of these artifacts being returned were incredibly slim even before the Egyptian Revolution, but after Egypt had no chance of reclaiming these ‘stolen’ objects because of the potential safety hazard. Museums should not have to send their artifacts back to their country of origin unless they are illegally acquired or exported. The primary consideration for these artifacts should be their safety and accessibility.

Many of the countries who are demanding their artifacts back, are unstable ones like Greece, Syria, and Egypt. “Many of the pleas for repatriation are politically motivated by modern struggles for power (Kelly Culbertson)”, whether it be money or fame. In 2011, at the end of the Revolution, the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo was broken into by looters and over one hundred artifacts were damaged or destroyed. The damage was minimal compared to…
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