More questions have been raised about the future of the British Museum’s controversial sponsorship deal with BP, after the museum said the two parties had no meetings or correspondence about renewing their funding deal for more than a year before it was due. Your most recent contract will expire.
The museums hieroglyphs the exhibit, which ended last week, was the final BP-sponsored exhibit in the latest five-year contract between the energy company and the museum; on your terms, that trade association has now ended. Neither party has announced any renewal or extension of the financing agreement, first forged 27 years ago.
The museum’s responses under the freedom of information legislation indicate that between October 2021 and December 2022, the most recent date covered by the disclosures, the museum and BP did not correspond or hold discussions about signing a new funding agreement. .
Prior to that, senior museum figures, including its director, Hartwig Fischer, met with a BP staff member in September and October 2021, the museum said, “but… we confirm that we have no information to suggest that… the A possible renewal of, or extension to, the company’s sponsorship agreement with the British Museum was mentioned or discussed during any of the listed interactions.”
Despite the expiration of their contract, both the British Museum and BP are keeping their mouths shut on the nature of their current and future partnership. The museum referred to The Guardian only to an earlier ambiguous statement that “BP is a valued long-term supporter of the museum and our current partnership lasts until this year.” BP did not respond to a request for comment.
While the most recent five-year deal with BP always expired this month, campaigners feared the museum Ambitious renovation plans of the “Rosetta project”for which it needs to find £1bn in funding, it could lead to a sponsorship renewal, albeit in a less prominent way. More details of the master plan are expected to be revealed later this year.
The revelations were obtained by the group culture without stainswho campaigns against fossil fuel funding of the arts and has been one of the most vocal critics of the partnership with BP during a decade of high-profile protests at the museum.
Chris Garrard, co-director of the group, said: “Under the museum’s contract with BP, the current sponsorship [has] it’s over… so what is he trying to hide now? Either he is manipulating the exit of a polluting patron that he should outright reject, or he has made the indefensible decision to allow BP to remain a partner in the museum and continue to sell the social legitimacy of the oil and gas company while making massive profits from conflict and crisis. climate.
“The director of the museum has a duty to be open, honest and responsible: he must clarify what the position of the museum is.”
BP is one of the oldest financial supporters of the British Museum, having supported its public program since 1996. Its most recent contract was signed in 2016 and came into force in 2018 as part of a five-year contract. sponsorship deal block that also included three other major arts organizations: the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Royal Opera House.
The other three have now ended their relationships with BP, while many other cultural organizational they have also severed ties with the company and other sponsors of fossil fuels. Garrard said now was “the ideal time for the museum to join the rest of the culture sector in moving decisively away from fossil fuel funding.”
Environmental activists have campaigned relentlessly against the museum’s relationship with BP, while climate scientists, archaeologists and arts personalities, as well as the British Museum members and staff, have criticized the patronage of fossil fuels.