British Museum director leaves earlier than expected

The director of the British Museum, Hartwig Fischer, announced Friday August 25 his immediate resignation. He admitted that he had not acted “as it should have” concerning warnings about the disappearance of objects from the museum’s collections.

“Over the past few days, I have reviewed in detail the events surrounding the thefts at the British Museum and the investigation into them. It is evident that the British Museum failed to respond adequately to the warnings issued in 2021 and to the problem which has now fully come to light. The responsibility for this failure ultimately rests with the director.said Hartwig Fischer.

In office since 2016, Hartwig Fischer announced last July his intention to leave office next year. However, the pressure grew stronger and stronger on the German historian – first non-Briton to run the British Museum – since the revelation on August 16 of the disappearance of a series of objects from the collection of the London institution.

George Osborne, the museum’s president, said the resignation had been accepted and that an interim director would be put in place pending the recruitment of a new director for the institution. Hartwig Fischer “acted honorably in acknowledging the mistakes that were made. No one ever doubted his integrity, his dedication to his work or his love for the museum”he told the BBC. “Around 2,000 items are believed to have been stolen, but we have started to find stolen pieces, which is a clearing in the storm. »

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