Home Arts British Museum removes reference to Rosetta Stone from title of major renovation plans

British Museum removes reference to Rosetta Stone from title of major renovation plans

by godlove4241
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The British Museum has quietly dropped the title Rosetta Project from its ambitious plan to redisplay the entire permanent collection. Although no reason for this change was given, it can be assumed that it was considered insensitive to refer to an object that some believe should be returned to Egypt. The development project will now be referred to by the more innocuous title of Masterplan.

Carved in 196 BC. AD, the Rosetta stone is inscribed in hieroglyphs, demotic and Greek, which allowed the decipherment of ancient Egyptian texts. As the most important single object in the British Museum and having played a key role in the translation and understanding of Egyptian civilization, it had
originally seemed like a fitting name for the repost project.

The Rosetta Stone, on which is inscribed a decree in three languages, allowed researchers to read the hieroglyphs © Matteo Vistocco

But although there has been no formal request for restitution, Egypt’s former minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass has spoken out in demand for his return. It might therefore have seemed undiplomatic to have kept the original name of the project.

Up to £1 billion

An announcement on the Masterplan is expected in the coming weeks. Unconfirmed reports suggest it could possibly cost up to £1billion, making it by far the most expensive museum project ever undertaken in the UK.

There are two main reasons for the Masterplan. First, the mostly pre-1914 building is in dire need of a thorough upgrade. Second, many displays are outdated and need to be refreshed and redesigned. This is likely to shift the museum’s focus slightly from Europe and the Mediterranean towards a more global presentation. Work on the galleries would be approached in a phased fashion, hopefully leaving most of the collection on display. It will probably take many years to complete, probably a decade or two.

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