Reunifying the Parthenon Sculptures (AKA Elgin Marbles) in Athens
For nearly 200 years, half of the surviving Parthenon Sculptures (Also known as the Elgin Marbles) have been displayed in the Duveen Gallery in the British Museum in London. Greece has repeatedly asked for their return, yet the British Museum ignores all such requests and maintains that the sculptures now form an "integral part" of their collection.
The Acropolis Museum in Athens opened in 2009 and forms a far more suitable home for them, situated in the context of the Acropolis, allowing them to be understood in relation to the other surviving sculptures.
Keeping them in London is a continuing embarrassment for Britain, with most attempts to justify it harking back to a colonial era when such actions were acceptable.
Whether or not there is a legal requirement to return them is undetermined, but most people who are given all the facts believe that there is an overwhelming moral obligation to return them.
Who can make the decision for their return?
The decision to return the sculptures is a matter for the director & trustees of the British Museum. They are limited by law however, which means any campaign should also target the British Prime Minister & the Secretary of State for Culture.
How can people be persuaded to change their minds?
The biggest issue is one of education – the more people know about the case, the more they are likely to support it. This involves no propaganda style exercises – merely disseminating the provable facts.
How can I help?
Organisations such as Marbles Reunited & the BCRPM already campaign for the return of the sculptures, but their resources are limited & the campaign needs to reach a wider audience with the assistance of an organisation such as 38 Degrees.