Croydon Council has made public its resignation from the Museums Association (MA) after its ethics committee decided they would face disciplinary action for selling Chinese ceramics from its collection.
The MA published an announcement on their website last week saying the decision by the Council to sell 24 Chinese ceramics from the Riesco Collection was “financially motivated” and thus breached the MA’s code of ethics.
Croydon Council reported that they learnt of the procedure from the MA’s website before having the opportunity to present their case at the hearing.
Councillor Tim Pollard, cabinet member for children, families and learning, said: “Sadly it appears the Museums Association has already made up its mind that the council should face disciplinary action.
“We were also disappointed with the way the MA has failed to communicate directly with the council and believe it has not followed its own procedure.”
A spokesperson for the MA commented: “It’s unfortunate that Croydon Council is running away from facing its responsibilities. It’s also a shame that the council ignored letters we sent and didn’t take the trouble to look in detail at how our disciplinary regulations work before complaining about them.”
Croydon Council announced in July they would be auctioning 24 pieces of Chinese porcelain in a public sale to be taking place in Hong Kong on November 27.
The Council added that they have never received funding from the MA and will continue to provide a normal museum service despite resigning their membership.
The Arts Council England previously informed Croydon Council they could lose their Accredited Museum status because of the sale.
The sale is expected to raise about £13m, which will be used to improve Croydon’s cultural infrastructure, notably refurbishing Fairfield Halls. The Council explained increasing insurance and security costs made the collection too expensive to maintain.