A letter to the British Museum and the British Government
In the week before the New Acropolis Museum opens, the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures has written to both the British Museum & the British Government, reminding them of some of the facts surrounding the marbles.
On behalf of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures I would like to draw to your attention to the inauguration on June 20, 2009, of the magnificent new Acropolis Museum, which provides an ideal opportunity for the Parthenon sculptures currently held in the British Museum to be returned to Greece.
We believe the Parthenon sculptures could be returned to Athens in an arrangement that could be mutually beneficial to both Greece and the British Museum.
The International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures has member organisations in sixteen countries, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA. (www.parthenoninternational.org). The International Association is a powerful indication of the growing and now overwhelming support around the world for the Parthenon sculptures to be returned to Greece.
The new Acropolis Museum has been designed specifically to allow for the proper exhibition of all of the surviving two and a half thousand- year - old sculptures of the Parthenon in their original configuration. This cannot be done in the Duveen Gallery of the British Museum, which is too small even for the Elgin collection to be correctly exhibited.
Also, more people now visit the Acropolis each year than visit the Parthenon Sculptures in the Duveen Gallery of the British Museum. The opening of the new Acropolis Museum and the prospect of reuniting the currently dispersed collection of Parthenon sculptures will provide yet further accessibility for the people of the world to study and enjoy the wonders of Classical Greece. The event also provides an opportunity for collaboration between two great cultures and two great institutions, the symbolism of which would further advance the standing of the British Museum as a museum of the twenty first century.
We would urge the British Museum to now investigate ways in which a cultural exchange agreement with Greece involving the return of the Parthenon sculptures could yield benefits to both the British Museum as well as Greece.
Chairman, International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures