Today's announcement by Arts Council England indicates that museums in Northampton have lost their accredited status. in effect this means that they will be unable to apply for arts related grants for at least the next five years.
ACE has taken this decision due to the deaccessioning and sale of an Egyptian statue donated to Northampton Museum and Art Gallery.
who are the losers?
First the people of Northampton. Not only have they lost a first rate Egyptian statue of international significance, but now the plans to develop their local museum will have to be shelved for at least five years. I Understand that this has divided the Northampton community but this ruling effects everyone, whichever side they had taken. moreover this decision has damaged the reputation of Northampton.
Second the curatorial team in the museum service in Northampton. they are now implicated in the decision to deaccession the statue. they need to make it clear if they spoke out against the decision.
Third the Friends of Northampton Museum and Art Gallery. This body has tried to support the museum but its endeavours will now be in vain.
Fourth the wider general public in the UK who expect museums to preserve and protect objects that they acquire for the good of all.
Fifth local politicians who do not appear to have taken appropriate advice before selling the statue.
I am sure that there will be recriminations in Northampton as those responsible for this chain of actions face up to the consequences of their actions.