Thursday, July 9, 2009

Timothy Rub on loans over ownership

I was struck by a reported comment of Timothy Rub, the out-going director of the Cleveland Museum of Art (Steven Litt, "Losing director could make for great partnership", Plain Dealer (Cleveland) July 5, 2009). Rub spoke at a conference at the end of June and "made a convincing case for long-term loans as a way for countries seeking to control illicit trade in antiquities to share national patrimony". He is quoted:
"Access might not mean ownership."
Such a statement is a move towards a position of stewardship of the archaeological record, a position I have been advocating here. Rub is now standing in marked opposition to senior museum figures such as James Cuno and Philippe de Montebello who have been vocal advocates of "ownership".

Perhaps before he leaves Cleveland Rub could release the collecting histories of the objects returned to Italy.

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