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Council barred for statue sale

Northampton Borough Council has become only the fourth organisation in 125 years to be barred from membership to the Museums Association, following the highly controversial sale of an ancient Egyptian statue.

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Museums Association: "Northampton statue sale was a violation of public trust"

The Sekhemka statue. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Museums Association says that Northampton Borough Council's decision to sell an ancient Egyptian statue was a "clear violation of public trust."

Nearly £16million was raised by the sale of the Sekhemka statue in July.

Today, the Museums Association barred the Council from its membership for a minimum of five years.

“Northampton Borough Council has clearly breached the MA’s Code of Ethics by selling the statues from its collection. Its actions are a clear violation of public trust at a local, national and international level.

The MA is convening a summit of funding bodies later in the year to agree on a new range of sanctions and deterrents for governing bodies considering this course of action.”

– Sharon Heal, Museums Association acting head of policy

The council said in a statement that they'd already resigned their membership and had no desire to re-join.

“It is curious that the Museums Association is choosing to review our membership when we have already notified them that we have resigned from the Association and have no desire to ever re-join.

Having reviewed the value of membership we could not see what benefit it offered to our museums."

– Spokesperson, Northampton Borough Council

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