Smithsonian Postpones Belitung Exhibit in the Midst of Controversy

The Smithsonian Museum’s Sackler Gallery has formally postponed its exhibit of the Belitung shipwreck in order to address the controversy surrounding the artifacts origins from a looted shipwreck site. I have posted earlier about the controversy (see this earlier article for context) – the American Institute of Archaeology issued a formal statement condemning the exhibition.

The Washington Post reports that the museum’s curator, Julian Raby, has formally put the exhibit on hold to further consult with professional archaeologists and organizations. The concern for displaying artifacts procured via looting is that it continues to support the illegal trade and furthers the demand for materials regardless of the legality in how the objects are obtained. To read more about the decision, check out the Washington Post article.


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