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Treaty on antiquities hinders access for museums

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1:07pm, March 13, 2009

Treaty on antiquities hinders access for museums

James Cuno, a past president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, has spent years investigating implications of a United Nations treaty: the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. It prohibits museums and other research centers from acquiring objects unearthed after 1970 without permission from the country of origin. Such permission is seldom granted, Cuno notes in his new book, Who Owns Antiquity? Last month, senior editor Janet Raloff spoke about the treaty with Cuno at The Art Institute of Chicago, where he is the director.

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