In response to the discovery of missing items from its collection, The British Museum has taken drastic action by firing a staff member and implementing heightened security measures.
Upon realizing that certain items were absent, stolen, or damaged, including jewelry featuring semi-precious stones and glass dating from the 15th century BC to the 19th century AD, the museum initiated an independent investigation.
Following the termination of the employee, legal proceedings had been initiated against them. Additionally, the matter is under scrutiny by the economic crime command of the Metropolitan Police.
An independent review, headed by former trustee Sir Nigel Boardman and Lucy D’Orsi, the chief constable of the British Transport Police, will examine the situation and propose future security enhancements. The museum has stated that this review will also instigate a vigorous program to recover the missing artifacts.
Among the items that went missing were smaller pieces stored in the museum’s collection, which had not yet been put on display and were reserved for academic and research purposes.
George Osborne, the chair of the museum’s trustees, expressed deep concern, saying, “The trustees have taken decisive action to deal with the situation.” The museum collaborated with law enforcement, bolstered security, initiated an external review, and applied disciplinary measures against the implicated individual.
Hartwig Fischer, the museum’s director, emphasized the institution’s commitment to safeguarding its collection and expressed apologies for the incident.
He asserted that the museum has already improved security measures and is partnering with experts to compile an accurate account of missing, damaged, and stolen items. Their focus is now on the meticulous retrieval of the objects.
Sir Nigel Boardman highlighted the museum’s resolve to investigate the matter thoroughly and ensure accountability. He also underscored the ongoing collaboration with law enforcement for the sake of justice.
While the investigation remains ongoing, the British Museum declined to provide further comments at this time.