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Museums and Galleries: Restitution

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN HL7540, tabled on 31 March 2022

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to establish an independent expert panel to (1) deliberate, and (2) make recommendations, on (a) restitution, and (b) repatriation, claims on cultural objects (excepting Nazi-looted objects) held in public collections.

Answered on

5 April 2022

HM Government has no plans to establish such a panel.

Museums and galleries in the UK operate independently of HM Government. Decisions relating to their collections are a matter for the trustees of each museum.

National museums are prevented by law from “deaccessioning” objects in their collections unless, broadly, they are duplicates or unfit for retention. The two exceptions to this are when the objects are human remains that are less than 1,000 years old, and objects that were spoliated during the Nazi era.