Museum ethics and Egypt‘s antiquities : restitution, preservation, and the Arab Spring.
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Museum ethics and the collecting of antiquities in Egypt have had a symbiotic relationship, each influencing the other. Centuries of looting in Egypt have led to the dispersal of Egyptian antiquities around the world. In many cases these artifacts have found their way into the collections of Western museums. As a result, museums have been faced with questions concerning what artifacts belong where, and who owns what. The ethical issues surrounding restitution continue to generate controversy in the museum world today. Egypt and other source countries increasingly demand objects back. On the question of restitution and in other questions as well, museums are guided by standards such as codes of ethics, international cultural conventions, and national legislation. After the Arab Spring in early 2011, the challenge of protecting Egypt's antiquities was made greater. International organizations teamed with Egypt in dealing with the turmoil and the lack of resources, and have made great strides in caring for Egypt's cultural property. Events such as this and the continuation of discussions continue to shape the ethics of museums and their interaction with Egypt's antiquities.