COA questions National Museum’s loan of 2,179 items

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    THE National Museum allowed private persons, foreign universities, and government agencies to borrow 2,208 items, including artifacts, antiques, and archeological finds that were not yet listed in the agency’s Property and Accounting records.

    This was revealed in the 2019 report on the NMP released on September 7, 2020, as the Commission on Audit sounded the alarm that these collections might be lost.

    “Of the 2,208 items loaned by NMP to other agencies and institutions and to other NMP branches, only 29 were included in the IR (inventory report) while the remaining 2,179 were unaccounted in the record of the Property and Accounting,” government auditors said.

    The audit team said museum management failed to submit any agreement on the loan and auditors were unable to make any assessment on the value and condition of the loaned items.

    Among the items loaned were 665 genus of butterflies to The City University of New York until June 15, 2021 with unknown individual borrower and 300 pieces of “stones and glass” loaned to NM research associate Jennifer Craig in January 2014.

    Borrowed from the Archeology Division for exhibition were 73 bones to the Puerto Galera Museum; 20 tradeware ceramics to the Kaisa Heritage Center in Intramuros, Manila; five stonewares to the Department of Tourism; and a collection of “pottery and earthenware shards, beads, Imari wares, and ceramics” with no detailed description.

    Also from the Archeology Division, loaned for scientific analysis were 431 earthenware shards to the UCLA; 13 pieces of bones to the Field Museum on Natural History; 60 fossils and lithic (stone tools) to the UP-Archeological Studies Program; 59 animal bones and teeth to the University of Cambridge; and 31 human bones and teeth to the Aberdeen University.