Egyptian Sekhemka statue sale prompts ethics code change


Sekhema - image via BBC News
It is interesting to see in the media today that the controversial sale of the ancient Egyptian statue of Sekhemka  by Northampton Borough Council has initiated a change in the code of ethics which is issued to museums.

The statue, which sold for £15m in 2014  in order to fund the museum's expansion, has remained a prominent issue with concern that it would leave the UK for good.  Considered the finest example of its kind, it was subject to a temporary export bar to prevent the new overseas owner from taking out of the country.
Sekhema Egyptian statue sale prompts museum ethics code change - BBC News reports:
"The Museums Association has warned organisations not to dispose of items for financial gain unless it benefits wider collections.
It will mean if a museum wants to sell an item, it can only do so "as a last resort" after exhausting other options.
When it put the statue up for auction, Northampton Borough Council said the cost of insuring it had become too high and the money was needed for a £14m extension to Northampton Museum and Art Gallery."
Sharon Heal, from the Museums Association, said she believed the council had lost out on potential visitors by selling the statue.
Sekhemka could have been part of an Egypt exhibition featuring collections from provincial museums due to open this week and would have "put Northampton on the map", she said.
Ms Heal believed the statue would be stored until export approval was granted to its new overseas owner, and would never be seen in public again.
The Save Sekhemka Group campaigning to keep the statue in the UK is expected to comment later.


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