Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Two museum heroes today, in two vastly different ways

Son 'Relieved' To Tell Cops Of Dad's Stolen Artifacts

Amidst the reports coming in today from the scene of the fatal shooting at the Holocaust Museum, I heard this story on All Things Considered and had to share it with anyone who may have missed this afternoon's broadcast. Recently, Joseph Sisto, certain he would be ostracized from his own family, turned over his father's enormous collection of artifacts and manuscripts to authorities because he recognized that many of them had been stolen. Because of his selfless desire to do the right thing, thousands of cultural treasures are finally seeing the light of day and many are being repatriated to public collections in Italy.

I was pleased to have just a little bit of good news for those of us in the museum world, on an otherwise dark day, as we saw a terrible and shocking act of violence end in the tragic death of security guard Stephen Johns at the Holocaust Memorial Museum. My prayers are with his family and friends in their grief, along with the staff at the Museum, who will have to shake off their fear and head back to work later this week. We all look forward to a brighter day when hope, not hatred, fills the hearts of people everywhere. Truly, it is those individual heroes like Stephen Johns, who through their altruistic acts of bravery bring us closer to that better world we seek.

Photo: M. Spencer Green

FBI special agent and spokesman Ross Rice announces that millions of dollars worth of antiquities found in the home of John Sisto of Berwyn, Ill., will be sent back to Italy. AP

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