Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Video showcasing Sekhemka goes online at Christies

A beautiful video, produced in terrible circumstances. If the sale goes ahead, it will be a sad and shameful day for Northampton.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Sekhemka has already left Northampton - Video

It would appear Sekhemka has already left Northampton - in the video below you can see him now on display at Christie's ahead of the auction.

And the shocking news of the sale has now reached Australia... click here to read the article

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Presentation (on behalf of Sue Edwards) by Judith Hodgkinson to Full (Northampton Borough) Council re Proposed Sale of Sekhemka 2nd June 2014

Judith Hodgkinson, Lecturer, previously employed in Northampton’s Museum Service for 32 years.

The Chair of the Save Sekhemka Action Group, Gunilla Loe, is not absent because of the undue intimidation which has been directed at her, but because she is unavailable tonight.
You are all aware of the background to the proposed sale of Sekhemka on 10th July at Christie’s Auction House in London.

Making a legal case for the sale came after the decision to sell.

Every major museum and arts body opposes the sale on the grounds that it is unethical.  

Should the sale go through, it is almost certain that our Museum will lose Accreditation – the professional equivalent of being struck off – and will not be entitled to any future grants from which it has benefited to the tune of many hundreds of thousands of pounds in the past.

So far NBC has spent over £40,000 to override the 4th Marquis of Northampton’s apparently       watertight deed drawn up for the benefit of local people. 

Councillor Mackintosh says this sale is legal but refuses to show any member of the public the new documentation or agreement drawn up between NBC and the Marquis.  Christie’s response is quote ‘Northampton Borough Council believe they have full title, however, following legal discussions with Lord Northampton an agreement has been reached’ end of quote.  When did the word ‘believe’ become a legal term to use with regard to ownership, and if ownership were clear, why would it need to be a joint agreement?    

The Action Group has asked for the documents to be scrutinized by a qualified legal expert but Councillor Mackintosh refuses.  He also refuses to answer many of our legitimate questions and refers us to Freedom of Information, which still results in unanswered questions or answers extensively redacted. If the new documentation is legal, why all the secrecy?

The sale should be stopped or at the very least postponed for further enquiries as to legality.  Is it appropriate morally and ethically for a public body, charged with proper guardianship of the public purse, to act in this manner?  

The recent announcement in the Chronicle and Echo shows plans for a museum extension costing £14 million.  Even if the sale were to go ahead, if the Council is no longer eligible for grants, where will the rest of the money come from?   

Presentation by Ruth Thomas at Full (Northampton Borough) Council re Proposed Sale of Sekhemka

Ruth Thomas (Chair of Northamptonshire Ancient Egyptian Society)
 Much has been said about the proposed sale of Sekhemka; I would like to spend a few minutes outlining some consequences:

If moral and ethical considerations mean nothing to Councillor Mackintosh then I ask you to consider this. The sale of Sekhemka will yield only a portion of the cost of the proposed new museum. The recent announcement in the Chronicle and Echo showed plans for the extended museum, costing £14,000,000.

Our group has received an email this weekend from the National Art Fund which reads as follows: QUOTE  "Regardless of the final sale amount, due to the nature of the split with Lord Northampton and the need to pay a buyer’s premium, the Museum would only gain less than half of the total amount [raised] towards its planned works. Even without the ethical considerations, this sale therefore seems an ineffective route to pursue for long-term financial gain." UNQUOTE

The bulk of the finance needed for the museum would normally come from grants through government organisations which support heritage and museums. However, since the Museums Association and Arts Council have made it clear in the national press that Northampton Museum will lose its accreditation if the sale takes place, there will be no possibility of applying for a grant. Northampton Museum will simply not get the funding.

The proposed sale of Sekhemka is a bad move for Northampton Museum and not only because it makes Northampton Museum a pariah in the professional world of museums and heritage. It doesn’t even make financial sense ! The money raised from the proposed sale will be heavily outweighed by the loss of grants and financial support from government organisations. 

The Arts Council acknowledge the seriousness of the situation QUOTE: “We recognise through their actions that Northampton Borough Council does not care about losing accreditation” and that as a result of the proposed sale they say “grants and placements will not be possible in the future.” QUOTE

I would like to place on record this clear statement that the development of the museum and its collections are now under serious threat.