Good News! Washington DC’s Museum of the Bible is Returning 11,500 Antiquities to Egypt and Iraq
The founder of the Museum of the Bible at Washington Dc, Steve Green, has recently announced they will be returning 11,500 biblical artifacts to the Egyptian and Iraqi governments.
Only one of the soon-to-be-returned antiquities was displayed at the museum, and they include around 5,000 ancient papyrus fragments and 6500 ancient clay objects. The museum is repatriating them because they have no clear ownership history or confirmed provenance for them.
The museum has been under scrutiny several times over the past few years, facing criticism over the accumulation of its objects even prior to its grand opening in November 2017.
The US government sued Mr. Green’s family for smuggling 3,800 Iraqi antiquities into the country, and he had to pay $3 million to settle the lawsuit, returning the artifacts to Iraq.
In October 2019, the Egypt Exploration Society, a London-based nonprofit, also announced that 13 of the museum’s pieces were stolen from its Oxyrhynchus Papyri. The museum accepted the society’s claims and the ancient fragments were given back to the organization.