The British Museum has launched an investigation after a few items from their collection went "missing, stolen or damaged." The matter is under investigation by the Economic Crime Command of the Metropolitan Police, and one of the staff members has also been dismissed. After the news about the stolen items was shared by the British Museum, many netizens have taken to social media to react to it.
A majority of the items that went missing were tiny parts that were kept in a storeroom. The stolen items consisted of gold jewellery and gems made of semiprecious stones and glass dating from the 15th century BC to the 19th century AD. They were retained exclusively for academic and research purposes, and none had lately been on display in public, reports a press release shared by the British Museum.
Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum, said in the press release, “This is a highly unusual incident. I know I speak for all colleagues when I say that we take the safeguarding of all the items in our care extremely seriously. The Museum apologises for what has happened, but we have now brought an end to this – and we are determined to put things right."
He further added, "We have already tightened our security arrangements and we are working alongside outside experts to complete a definitive account of what is missing, damaged, and stolen. This will allow us to throw our efforts into the recovery of objects.”
Former trustee Sir Nigel Boardman and British Transport Police Chief Constable Lucy D'Orsi will be in charge of an independent review. They will jointly investigate the situation and make suggestions for improved security measures at the Museum. Additionally, they will launch and support a strong program to locate lost objects.
Since the items were reported stolen, many people took to Twitter to share their reactions to it.
An individual wrote, "A taste of your own medicine @britishmuseum." A second shared, "Everybody who’s previously defended the British museum by saying 'Oh but other countries couldn’t take care of artifacts as they can' is now learning what everyone in the museum sector has known all along."
A third posted, "Since when did the British Museum think stealing was wrong?" "Shame when things go missing or stolen, isn’t it, British Museum?" expressed a fourth. What are your thoughts on this incident?