The British Museum is also visited on sunny days. Here on August 23, 2023.Photo: Cornerstone
Perhaps this is not how his departure was envisioned: the director of the British Museum, Hartwig Fischer, is resigning prematurely in light of a recent series of thefts at the famous building. The museum announced this on Friday. In fact, the German only wanted to step down next year – “after eight successful years at the helm of the group”, as stated in a statement issued at the end of July. Now it’s over with “immediate effect,” the house announced. Fisher has stated that he will step down from management once a temporary solution is found.
Director Hartwig Fischer has resigned with immediate effect.Photo: Portable Archeology Scheme of London, England
Shortly after, the museum announced that Deputy Director Jonathan Williams had taken a voluntary break from his duties pending an independent investigation, effective immediately.
The serial theft becomes public
The German cultural director has been doomed by a series of heinous thefts that became public last week. According to the British Museum, many of the pieces have been stolen or damaged. Among other things, it concerns gold jewelry, jewelry made of semi-precious stones and glass. According to the information, some of the pieces date back to the fifteenth century BC until the nineteenth century AD.
It is suspected that there is a former employee who was dismissed in connection with the events, and legal measures were taken against him. According to the police, a man has been questioned in connection with these events. But at first there was no arrest.
It was stolen years ago
New details appeared almost every day. According to media reports, more than 1,000 items were stolen over several years. In addition, there are said to be indications as early as 2021 – For example, pieces from the museum have been offered for sale on an online auction platform. However, the information was not taken seriously.
Fisher was initially defiant and seemed to want to shift blame. It was “disappointing” that the whistleblower did not provide more information in 2021. “There were only a few elements of concern, and our investigation concluded that all of these were present.” German confirmed. And now he regretted that connection and withdrew it.
He said in his statement today, Friday, that in the past few days he had carried out a detailed study and investigation of the events surrounding the thefts of the British Museum. The museum clearly did not respond to the warnings in 2021 and to the issue that has now emerged as fully and comprehensively as it should have.. “The responsibility for this failure must ultimately lie with the director.” Fisher said according to the announcement.
Fisher justifies his resignation
The British Museum in London is one of the most important museums in the world. It houses some of humanity’s most important cultural treasures. These include a large part of the Parthenon sculptures, the Rosetta Stone, and Egyptian mummies.
Fisher was quoted as saying the museum was in a very dangerous situation.
“I honestly think he’s going to get through this moment and come out stronger. But unfortunately I’ve come to the conclusion that my presence isn’t helpful. That’s the last thing I want.”
Museum board chairman George Osborne said in the statement that the board had accepted Fisher’s resignation. He acted honorably by dealing with the mistakes he made. “No one ever questioned Hartwig’s integrity, his dedication to the profession, or his love of the museum.”
Prior to taking up his position in London, Fischer managed important German museums. Since 2006 he has been director of the Volkwang Museum in Essen. In 2012 he became the general director of the state art collections in Dresden. Then he was summoned to London. At the end of July, he announced that he wanted to relinquish the position in 2024, and declared that he wanted to “go beyond the institutional framework of a single museum” in a new role in the future. (SAW/SDA/DPA)
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