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The American Association of Museums: New Standards for Collecting Archaeological Material

The American Association of Museums (AAM) announced last week (August 13, 2008) that it had established "New Standards on Collecting of Archaeological Material and Ancient Art" (Press Release; document). The AAM advocates the use of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

There is also a section on "Existing Collections" (section 3):
In order to advance further research, public trust, and accountability museums should make available the known ownership history of archaeological material and ancient art in their collections, and make serious efforts to allocate time and funding to conduct research on objects where provenance is incomplete or uncertain. Museums may continue to respect requests for anonymity by donors.

Like the AAMD's Guidelines the issue of long-term loans is not discussed.

It is apparent that despite the return of antiquities to Italy from several North American museums, other institutions are likely to be in the spotlight in the near future. Will they be providing collecting histories of antiquities acquired since 1970?

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