Museums & Discoveries

Articles under Museums & Discoveries cover exhibitions, research, technical innovations, archaeological discoveries and more. Many describe compelling connections between artistic periods, links between distant peoples, and the evolution of ideas and human creativity.

Global museums preserve mankind’s artistic history and enable the public to discover its wonders. The museum mission is to foster appreciation and respect for the achievements of all peoples, ancient, indigenous, and contemporary. Today, museums are more than a field trip – they are an essential resource for children’s education and they honor our citizens’ multi-cultural roots.

America’s independent museums rely on generous public support, which is often 85% of total revenue, and on donations from private collectors. Under pressure after revelations of past collecting abuses, many US museums adopted new policies in 2008, refusing to acquire objects without a documented history of US ownership before 1970, or proof of lawful export from source countries.

Unfortunately, this policy failed to acknowledge that export permits were not required for legal import in the past. If such documents ever existed, they were not retained for up to 40 years. This policy has created hundreds of thousands of art ‘orphans’ that were legally imported, and may be lawfully sold, but cannot be donated to US museums.

Many observers believe that there is no safer place for art in a troubled world than in a museum. They see a legal, transparent art trade as crucial to ensure access to art in publicly supported museums. The Museums & Discoveries section covers these policy questions and others, as museums take the lead in urging preservation, protection, and safe harbor for global heritage.