Monday, June 30, 2008

Archaeological Loans: Looking Back to EUMILOP

If international museums can no longer "own" antiquities either through purchase on the antiquities market or through partage, what other options are open to them?

In the 1980s Maxwell L. Anderson, then in Atlanta, was involved with "The Emory University Museum International Loan Project" (or EUMILOP for short). The aims of EUMILOP were as follows:
  • "to encourage substantive cooperative efforts between archaeological museums and sites in this country [sc. USA] and abroad."
  • "With a view toward the future, when acquisitions of antiquities will become increasingly difficult for American museums owing to financial and ethical considerations, loan projects of this kind will provide one avenue for American museums with limited resources."
As part of the project the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma placed on loan 22 key Roman portraits and a splendid catalogue, Roman Portraits in Context (1988), was produced. A second exhibition, Syracuse, the Fairest Greek City (1989), contained loans from the Museo Archeologico Regionale Paolo Orsi. A third, Radiance in Stone (1989), consisted of stunning loans of sculpture in coloured marble from the Museo Nazionale Romano. [Details here]

It has taken twenty years to move from Anderson's prophetic vision to the radical revision of the AAMD's acquisition policy.

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