The British Museum is considering “all eventualities” amid fears that antiquities displayed in the West will be targeted by Daesh copycats, the Times reported on Thursday.
Neil MacGregor, the museum’s outgoing director, said the “range of threats” in the past two years meant that cultural institutions had to consider how to protect objects, many of which are seen by Daesh as idolatrous.
MacGregor’s comments follow concern from the Louvre museum in Paris that it may be targeted by “cultural terrorists” bent on copying the destruction of antiquities by Daesh fanatics.
Phillippe Marquis, a curator at the Louvre, said this week that he agreed western museums were at risk.
MacGregor, who announced his resignation in April, said yesterday at the museum’s annual review: “We have to think about all the eventualities.”
The museum said it had not increased security since the reported destruction of ruins but it was constantly reviewing how best it could secure its antiquities in London and on projects it is involved in around the world.
The museum’s collection of Assyrian artefacts, dating from the first millennium BC, is one of the world’s finest. It contains numerous treasures originally from cities whose ruins have been targeted by Isis fanatics.
Daesh has control of about 4,500 archaelogical sites in Iraq. Officials believe its militants are selling ancient items to fund their violence.