Ruth Thomas (Chair of Northamptonshire Ancient Egyptian Society)
Much has been said about the proposed sale of Sekhemka; I would like to spend a few minutes outlining some consequences:
Our group has received an email this weekend from the National Art Fund which reads as follows: QUOTE "Regardless of the final sale amount, due to the nature of the split with Lord Northampton and the need to pay a buyer’s premium, the Museum would only gain less than half of the total amount [raised] towards its planned works. Even without the ethical considerations, this sale therefore seems an ineffective route to pursue for long-term financial gain." UNQUOTE
The bulk of the finance needed for the museum would normally come from grants through government organisations which support heritage and museums. However, since the Museums Association and Arts Council have made it clear in the national press that Northampton Museum will lose its accreditation if the sale takes place, there will be no possibility of applying for a grant. Northampton Museum will simply not get the funding.
The proposed sale of Sekhemka is a bad move for Northampton Museum and not only because it makes Northampton Museum a pariah in the professional world of museums and heritage. It doesn’t even make financial sense ! The money raised from the proposed sale will be heavily outweighed by the loss of grants and financial support from government organisations.
The Arts Council acknowledge the seriousness of the situation QUOTE: “We recognise through their actions that Northampton Borough Council does not care about losing accreditation” and that as a result of the proposed sale they say “grants and placements will not be possible in the future.” QUOTE
I would like to place on record this clear statement that the development of the museum and its collections are now under serious threat.