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British Museums Told to Clean House

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Updated: Monday, January 13, 2014

The Museums Association, founded in 1889 to represent Britain's museums and galleries, reversed a 30-year ban on selling art and urged its 1,500 members on Monday to get rid of objects that are gathering dust, the BBC reported.

"Museums typically collect a thousand times as many things as they get rid of," Mark Taylor, the association's director, said in a posting on its Web site ( "Wonderful collections can become a burden unless they are cleared of unused objects." The association told its members to give unused art to other museums or public institutions or, in exceptional circumstances, to sell it. The organization expressed hope that its new policy would encourage museums to put some pieces on display, and said it expected only a few sales each year. Vanessa Trevelyan, convener of the association's ethics committee and head of Norfolk Museum and Archaeology Service, said, "Although disposal of items is not without risk, it is preferable to transfer items to an alternative home where they will be treasured, rather than retain material that is not supporting a museum's research, display or interpretation functions."

By The New York Times

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