Health Management

British Museum Director Resigns After Worker Fired for Theft


Simply days after the British Museum introduced that it had fired an employee who was suspected of looting its storerooms and selling items on eBay, the museum’s director introduced Friday that he was resigning, efficient instantly.

Hartwig Fischer, a German artwork historian who had led the world famend establishment since 2016, stated in a information launch that he was leaving the submit at a time “of the utmost seriousness.”

Mr. Fischer stated that it was “evident” that underneath his management the museum didn’t adequately reply to warnings {that a} curator could also be stealing objects. “The duty for that failure should finally relaxation with the director,” Mr. Fischer stated.

The disaster grew to become public when the British Museum introduced final week that objects had been stolen from its assortment. The museum didn’t say what number of objects had been taken, however stated that the lacking, stolen or broken items included “gold jewellery and “gems of semiprecious stones and glass” relationship from way back to the fifteenth century B.C.

Ever since, a stream of revelations across the museum’s dealing with of the thefts undermined Mr. Fischer’s place. On Tuesday, The New York Instances and the BBC published emails showing that he had downplayed considerations raised by Ithai Gradel, a Denmark-based antiquities supplier, about potential thefts.

Mr. Fischer, in an e-mail to a trustee in October 2022, stated “the case has been completely investigated” including “there isn’t a proof to substantiate the allegations.”

Mr. Fischer initially defended his response, saying in a press release Wednesday that his dealing with of the allegations had been sturdy and that the museum had taken the warnings “extremely critically.” The extent of the issue solely grew to become clear later, after the museum undertook “a full audit” of its collections, he added.

His protection did little to quell criticism in Britain. On Wednesday, The Times of London wrote that the thefts had been “a nationwide shame, calling into query the museum’s personal claims for its stewardship of cultural treasures, and for which it wants to offer a full accounting.”

In asserting his resignation, Mr. Fischer stated that it was clear that “the British Museum didn’t reply as comprehensively because it ought to have in response to the warnings in 2021, and to the issue that has now totally emerged.”

He was already planning to go away the establishment. In July Mr. Fischer announced he would leave the British Museum in 2024, after eight years within the position as director. However the disaster has introduced that date far nearer.

The museum would “come by way of this second and emerge stronger,” Mr. Fischer stated, “however sadly I’ve come to the conclusion that my presence is proving a distraction. That’s the very last thing I might need.”

George Osborne, the museum chair, stated within the launch that the board had accepted Mr. Fischer’s choice. “I’m clear about this: we’re going to repair what has gone fallacious,” Mr. Osborne stated. “The museum has a mission that lasts throughout generations. We’ll be taught, restore confidence and should be admired as soon as once more.”

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