Possible water damage in the British Museum’s Parthenon Gallery

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Possible water damage in the British Museum’s Parthenon Gallery

The Greek galleries at the British Museum that house the Parthenon marbles were not opened to the public after the lockdown. According to several sources, the reason is flooding.

Apparently, heavy rainfall in London on July 25th, causing flooding across the city, caused water to seep into one of the museum’s Greek galleries. According to a report by The Art Newspaper, a museum spokeswoman confirmed that “in one of the [Greek] Galleries. “

The newspaper also published photos in January showing signs of flooding at the museum, as well as a picture taken Wednesday showing a fan in front of an exhibition of Parthenon sculptures, possibly to dry up the venue.

It’s not the first time that water has been a problem in the galleries. In 2018, images of water dripping into the gallery with the frieze and sculptures from the Parthenon became widespread in the media, leading Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni to reiterate a call for the iconic sculptures to be returned to Greece . The museum then claimed the problem had been addressed.

A message on the British Museum website informs visitors that rooms 12-18 (the Greek galleries) are currently closed “for regular maintenance”.

The British Museum has stated that the Greek galleries remained closed in July as work and research were being carried out for future restoration, but has not commented on whether the part of the museum where the Parthenon marbles are on display there is actually water damage, it is known when the galleries will reopen.

While the opening of the Acropolis Museum directly below the Acropolis Hill in 2009 offered Greece the ideal “home” for all reunited Parthenon marbles, the British Museum does not agree to Greece’s claim to the sculptures. While countless international institutions and voices are advocating their return on the grounds that they were illegally looted and sold to the British Museum by Lord Elgin, the museum’s trustees argue that there is a positive benefit and public benefit to the sculptures at two distribute great museums, each telling a complementary but different story. “

Another reason for the British Museum’s stance is believed to be that the return of the frieze, metopes, and pediment sculptures from the Parthenon would set an unfavorable precedent that calls into question the legitimacy of all of its artifacts acquired before it international legal norms for the protection of antiquities existed. For this reason, they claim not to rule out a loan of the sculptures to Athens on condition that Greece recognizes ownership of the British Museum – which Greece will not.

“The current Greek government – like any Greek government – will not stop claiming the stolen sculptures, which the British Museum continues to hold illegally against all moral principles,” Mendoni said at the Acropolis Museum’s birthday party last year.

This article first appeared in Greece Is (www.greece-is.com), a Kathimerini publishing initiative.