1700 artifacts from London museums are a secret!

Nearly 1700 artifacts, including a portrait of Queen Victoria and a 200-million-year-old fossil, have been reported stolen or lost from museums in London, the capital of England.

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1700 artifacts from London museums are a secret!

According to Sky News, in August 2023, after it was revealed that nearly 2,000 artifacts at the British Museum had been stolen, lost or damaged, attention turned to other museums in the country that receive a share of public funds.

Within the scope of the Access to Information Law, museums announced the number of registered artifacts that they could not identify in their inventories. Nearly 1700 artifacts have been stolen or lost from museums.

Accordingly, the National Portrait Gallery announced that 45 works were missing, including an 1869 portrait of Queen Victoria, a 19th century engraving of King John accepting the Magna Carta, a bronze sculpture by the painter Thomas Stothard and a negative of a wedding photograph of Queen Elizabeth.

The gallery announced that the missing artifacts include mostly photographic negatives, of which digital copies have been found.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, which has the world’s largest collection of artworks, said 180 works from its inventory were missing, including paintings, shadow play depictions, drawings, clothing and a mousetrap.

The museum spokesperson pointed out that the missing artifacts do not necessarily mean that they were stolen.

“The catalog may not have been updated after the artifact was moved. After the update, the artifacts are usually identified.”

Saddam Hussein calendar missing

The Royal Museums of Greenwich, which includes 4 museums such as the Royal Observatory, where the prime meridian is located, and the National Maritime Museum, could not determine the fate of 245 artifacts in its inventory.

In a statement made by the Royal Museums of Greenwich, it was stated that telescopes, cannonballs, maps, compasses, an azimuth ring and a law were among the missing artifacts.

The statement emphasized that these losses could be caused by errors in computer systems and incorrect information entries. The museum also announced that 560 artifacts thought to be missing since 2008 were identified as a result of the inspections.

The Natural History Museum, which also attracts the attention of researchers with approximately 80 million artifacts in its collection, also announced that many fossils were missing.

According to the museum’s statement, a 200-million-year-old reptile jawbone fragment, 180 fish bones and a crocodile tooth were lost or stolen, while some of the losses in the collection were lost due to improper conservation practices.

The Science Museum in London said the whereabouts of some machine models and the Royal Military Museum said the whereabouts of some armor and bayonets were unknown.

The Imperial War Museum announced that 550 artifacts, including a calendar with photographs of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, camouflage drawings, and notes of British commanders, were missing, but explained that these artifacts were of low monetary value and were mass-produced.

Some artifacts were put up for sale on eBay

On August 16, 2023, the British Museum announced that a large number of historical artifacts in the museum’s storerooms had been stolen, lost or damaged.

It was stated that a person in charge of the artifacts, which were kept in the museum for academic research rather than exhibition purposes, had been dismissed.

It was reflected in the British media that the personnel in question was Peter Higgs, a curator working in the field of Mediterranean cultures, Hellenistic sculptures and artifacts, and that the number of missing artifacts was approximately 2 thousand.

It was revealed that some of the artifacts had been waiting for buyers on the shopping site eBay for years, and it was stated that the artifacts put up for sale were artifacts that did not have photographs in museum catalogs.

Archaeologist Dorothy Lobel King said, “It is very difficult to say which artifacts are not in the museum. The museum has not acknowledged losses for two years, but this year alone I have not seen any of the reliefs I requested to see for academic research.”

Hartwig Fischer, the museum’s director for 8 years, resigned over the scandal.


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