The MFA agreed to repatriate the Weary Herakles statue in 2011. "In order to avoid such time-consuming and costly scenarios in our future," Reed argues that "it is necessary for the MFA not to repeat the mistakes of our past." She notes that museums generally "turned a blind eye to gaps in provenance and other red flags, such as the names of known victims and perpetrators of Nazi looting, fanciful ownership histories, or indications of illegal export." They "failed to ask specific questions about the origins of their purchases and gifts." "Today, ignorance is no excuse," Reed plainly writes.
The provenance curator outlines the MFA's current practice of questioning provenance, export, and import information before it acquires or borrows a piece, evaluating not only the information supplied to the museum but also the source of that information. The article presents a model of due diligence that may help other cultural institutions avoid traps for the unwary.
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