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Polishing a Reputation April 18, 2002
by Roger Atwood

Peru's Museo de Oro (Gold Museum) has reopened all its rooms except one following charges that at least a quarter of its Precolumbian collection on public view was fake. The museum, with Peru's highest attendance rate and a tourist favorite, began closing individual rooms last year so that art historians could examine the collection and remove counterfeits, although the museum never closed entirely, according to Milagros Mujica, a member of the board of trustees. The collection has been reviewed and hundreds of phonies taken out, but the textile room remains closed as specialists examine it. The museum plans an official "reopening" when the textile review is complete; no date has been set. "We're cleaning and verifying the authenticity of the textiles, and when that happens we'll have a reinauguration," says Mujica. The rest of the museum outside Lima remains open, meanwhile.

The Peruvian government's consumer protection agency INDECOPI erected large signs at the entrance to the museum and in galleries, warning visitors that the authenticity of the pieces could not be guaranteed. The signs are now gone, the last of them removed in January 2002.

© 2002 by the Archaeological Institute of America