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British Museum Hints at Lending the Parthenon Marbles to Greece

British Museum
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has suggested a trade to entice Britain to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. Credit: Marcio Cabral de Moura, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The new president of the British Museum, George Osborne, hinted that they may lend the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

Osborne, a former British finance minister who took the seat in November, spoke of the possibility of the sculptures to return to Greece for a limited time in an interview published by The Times on Friday.

The article is entitled ‘It’s right to be proud of the British Museum’ with the new president claiming to usher the museum to the new globalization era in the midst of the dubious demands of the woke culture.

Lord Byron and the British Museum

The new president defends the museum saying that since its foundation in 1753, being the first museum in the world, there were people who fought against it.

Today, he said, there are still forces that believe the museum should not have most of its exhibits because they were taken from other cultures undeservedly so.

“There are those who demand the return of objects they believe we have no right to hold. That is not new either. Lord Byron thought the Elgin marbles should be back at the Parthenon,” he said.

However, Osborne said, the museum is not dismissive to such demands:

“We are open to lending our artefacts to anywhere who can take good care of them and ensure their safe return — which we do every year, including to Greece.”

Greece insists on the return of the Parthenon Marbles

The George Osborne quote on the conditional repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles comes after the visit of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in London last month.

The Greek Premier spoke to his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, asking for the return of the  sculptures to the place where they were created 25 centuries ago.

Mitsotakis urged the philhellene British premier to do right and return the Parthenon sculptures to their home, in Acropolis.

Mitsotakis said that the part of the Parthenon frieze currently at the British Museum is, “1,500 miles from its true home” and that it was “illegally removed by Lord Elgin” and taken from “the city and the world monument to which it rightfully belongs.”

Johnson replied that the British Museum does not belong to the British state but is an independent organization.

A poll in Britain shows that the majority of respondents (56 percent) believe that the sculptures should return to Greece, while 20 percent are in favor of them to remain in the British Museum.

This is an ongoing demand of Greek governments that started in 1982 with then Greece’s minister of culture Melina Mercouri.

Mercouri was the first politician who fought for what is the ultimate right of the Greek people: the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to their home, at the Parthenon, on the Acropolis hill.

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