The Case For Holding Onto Stolen Antiquities

Increasingly, the international debate over the ownership of antiquities which may once have been procured in less than honest fashion seems to be swinging around to a “give everything back if they ask for it” consensus. But the British Museum’s steadfast refusal to hand over the Elgin Marbles that once belonged to Greece has stood out as a notable example of an institution claiming a higher right to an artifact. “In many instances, national treasures are better off outside their countries of origin – better cared for, receiving more attention, and more accessible… It is one of the paradoxes of culture that museums confer as much as acknowledge beauty.”