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AC Joins Global Leaders At CEA Event to Discuss the Role of Museums

May 25, 2023

Cultural heritage is critical to telling stories and sharing the rich history of civilizations worldwide. As the illicit trade in art and antiquities continues at a rapid pace, it is essential to uncover ways to preserve and protect our shared history.

While collectors, governments, law enforcement, and more can assist in ending these crimes, museums play a unique role as intermediaries between cultures. As trusted institutions, museums must collect these artifacts legally and ethically to share and connect our stories.

On May 18 and 19, the Antiquities Coalition joined the China-Europe-America Initiative and other global leaders for an event to commemorate International Museum Day. The “Third Dialogue: Museums as Cultural Intermediaries in the Dialogue Between Civilizations” featured conversations about how museums can better preserve and protect art and antiquities.

Deborah Lehr, Chair and Founder of the Antiquities Coalition, emphasized the power of museums in her opening remarks:

“Museums have a unique ability—and responsibility—to harness the power of cultural heritage. Responsible cultural exchange can foster mutual understanding, appreciation, and respect. The lawful and ethical collection and trade in antiquities can do the same, so long as it does not harm local communities, disrupt the historical record, or fund crime, conflict, or violent extremism. Finally, repatriation can serve as a bridge between cultures, and moreover, an opportunity to right past wrongs.”

The Antiquities Coalition looks forward to seeing how these discussions will strengthen international museum practices and global policies to fight the illicit antiquities trade.Learn more about the event here.