All officers and board members of the St. Louis Society of the Archaeological Institute of America have resigned after a controversy over the organization’s proposed sale of 4,000-year-old Egyptian artifacts.
The group’s parent organization had demanded the mass resignations.
On the local chapter’s website, a statement notes that an interim board and officers took control on Jan. 26. The board members will serve until the St. Louis chapter can hold an election at its next annual meeting, the statement says.
In a statement from the AIA posted on its website, the national organization states that the resignation of the members on Jan. 25 allows the St. Louis group to keep its charter.
On Jan. 10, the national organization threatened to revoke the local charter when the St. Louis group announced it planned to auction, among other items, the Treasure of Harageh collection, a group of Twelfth Dynasty Egyptian jewelry and travertine vessels excavated in 1913-14 at Harageh, Egypt.
Some U.S. and British historians and art experts condemned the move, fearing a valuable cultural resource could disappear into the private marketplace. Critics included some St. Louis experts at area universities.
At that time, former local president and board member Judy Brilliant defended the sale, saying selling the items — which had been in storage for about 100 years — would give them a chance to be seen. The local board declined to step down at an initial meeting of the local chapter shortly after the national group called for the resignations.
The new president of the local society is Linda Bickel, and the vice president is Peter Warnock. Both were unavailable for comment.