Statement approved by the Council and General Assembly of the International Association of Egyptologists, September 2015
The International Association of Egyptologists (IAE) strongly condemns the recent sale of the statue of Sekhemka by the Northampton Borough Council (UK). This well-known masterpiece of Egyptian art may now disappear into a private collection, making it inaccessible to the general public, including the people of Egypt, students, and scholars.
The IAE opposes any such sales and would urge any public institution considering such actions to reconsider, and thereby to set an example of ethical behavior in keeping with such institutions’ responsibility as custodians for objects of world cultural importance.
In this regard the IAE endorses the position of ICOM (emphasis added):
“2.15 Disposal of Objects Removed from the Collections
Each museum should have a policy defining authorised methods for permanently removing an object from the collections through donation, transfer, exchange, sale, repatriation, or destruction, and that allows the transfer of unrestricted title to any receiving agency. Complete records must be kept of all deaccessioning decisions, the objects involved, and the disposal of the object. There will be a strong presumption that a deaccessioned item should first be offered to another museum.”