Friday, 8 March 2013

Museum Attitudes to Sekhemka

In our campaign to stop the sale of Sekhemka the Action Group has contacted various large and prestigious museums.  We asked them to write in to request a view of the statue for research purposes.  We had hoped for replies or at least some encouragement in our campaign but...
So far we have had three replies:

One from Leicester saying they cannot get involved because they were commissioned by NBC to write a report on the “Significance of Sekhemka”; they cannot let us have a copy because they do not own the copyright.  NBC has refused our FoI request because we have “overspent” our allocated time and money on this subject!

One reply from Birmingham which is positive and they will try to obtain access – thank you and GOOD LUCK!
The final reply came from the British Museum’s Egyptian and Sudan Department. The say  their present research does not include this period of Egypt so they will not ask for access, nor do they wish to get involved due to the iffy ownership.

What about the rest of our UK museums?  Those we have contacted and those yet to be e-mailed – do you not care about this issue?  We know that every museum in the country has funding issues but selling off collections is surely the very LAST resort? Especially if one does not know if one OWNS the object?

No doubt the museum world is glad that a 69 year old grandmother and her colleagues are fighting this battle to set a precedent without endangering museum money BUT you could help!

Please help us by telling us WHERE – in addition to the British Museum and Lord Northampton’s archives – we can find reliable information on the 2nd Marquess’ Egyptian Collection and its “life” in particular the periods 1870 – 1880 and 1880 – 1899.

This may seem a parochial matter but it will ultimately affect ALL of you: Local Authority run establishments as well as the giant trusts. 


Gunilla Loe, Chair

Friday, 1 March 2013

Initial Results of NBC's Consultation on Sekhemka

Recently, some early details regarding the responses to Northampton Borough Council's consultation were made public. This action group have already released full details of their survey available on this site. NBC's results were published here:

Councillor Brandon Eldred claims with elation in this article that a majority of 173 people favour selling Sekehmka and using the money for heritage projects, possibly the Cultural Quarter, and quotes again how far £2m will go.  It seems that NBC and Cllr Eldred have no understanding of the difficulties in selling something to which one cannot claim legal title.

During our campaign we have often queried WHO has title to Sekhemka and now we have been told, as a result of a FoI request, that there have been legal discussions between Lord Northampton and his legal team and NBC’s legal team on the ownership issue. Lord Northampton has since told us that these discussions are now at a temporary halt while NBC takes Counsel’s advice.  (Will the payment for this advice come out of the already meagre museum budget ?) So without proper legal title to the statue it is pointless to speculate on how to spend the eventual sale money.

Another reply to a FoI request has revealed that when NBC’s present insurance provider had the museum collections re-valued in 2010, including the high value of Sekhekma, they did NOT ask for extra display or security measures.  Therefore the statue can and should go back on display for the benefit of the people of Northampton.

Citing security reasons is invalid since the ONLY people who have revealed the value of Sekhemka time and time again in press and local media are NBC staff or NBC Councillors.

The statue was placed in the care of the museums to benefit Northampton’s people, until legal title is established without doubt the Central Museum is where it should be – NOW.

Gunilla Loe, Chair, Save Sekhemka Action Group  and Chair, FNMAG