In light of the incident involving stolen artifacts, the director of the British Museum resigned. Director Hartwig Fischer, who was born in Germany, apologizes to the whistleblower who alerted authorities to a serial thief’s theft of priceless things and resigns “with immediate effect.” AGES ago

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The director of the British Museum, Dr. Hartwig Fischer, has resigned “with immediate effect” in the wake of a scandal involving stolen artifacts. The museum had a curator dismissed after items from its collection went missing. Dr. Fischer’s departure comes after whistleblower Dr. Ittai Gradel revealed that he had reported alleged thefts to the director and his deputy, Dr. Jonathan Williams, in February 2021. The curator in question, Peter Higgs, was subsequently fired. The missing items prompted a police investigation.

Dr. Fischer initially indicated that the museum had taken the concerns seriously but suggested that Dr. Gradel had not provided enough information. However, in his resignation announcement, Dr. Fischer admitted that the museum had not responded adequately to the warnings in 2021 and that he had misjudged his previous remarks about Dr. Gradel. He apologized for those remarks and offered his resignation to the Chairman of the Trustees. The museum’s board of trustees accepted his resignation and is already seeking a successor.

The missing items, described as “small pieces” dating from the “15th century BC to the 19th century AD,” had prompted concerns after antiquities dealer Dr. Gradel alerted the museum to items being sold on eBay in 2021. The museum reportedly did not respond effectively to these concerns. The situation has caused significant turmoil within the museum, and the board aims to restore confidence and address the issues that have arisen.

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