Venice, California gets Loot


Photo by Suzette Valle

The week-end before Thanksgiving, we drove to Venice, California to attend a private party and presentation of LOOT, Sharon Waxman's latest piece de resistance about stolen antiquities. The gathering was hosted by three of Sharon's good friends, Paula Silver (marketing exec. for the now classic movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Liz Ondaatje, a public policy researcher at the RAND Corporation (and mother of four), and journalist and Green Mom blogger Liz Benenson.

The group was enthralled by the stories Sharon uncovered while researching the provenance of many statues, obelisks and other famous art pieces we have grown accustomed to seeing displayed in museums around the world, except in the very country where they came from.

From “Why are the Elgin Marbles in London, and not on the Acropolis?  Why do there seem to be as many mummies in French museums as there are in Egypt?  Why are so many Etruscan masterworks in America?Where do these treasures belong? Sharon Waxman, a former culture reporter of The New York Times and longtime foreign correspondent, takes us inside this high-stakes conflict over who owns the treasures of antiquity, examining the implications for the preservation of the objects themselves and for how we understand our shared cultural heritage.”

Sharon's fascinating journey and discovery of political maneuvering taking place in the world of antiquities — from the Getty to the Louvre, to San Diego's Mingei Museum, all play a part in LOOT — and the book is already garnering acclaim from both readers and critics.

Sharon and Suzette

So, how could parents connect some of these cultural aspects (which could seem too sophisticated or boring for some kids), with our current family routines? In doing a little research for this post, I came across a new website that does exactly this:

“By the time they finish watching “The Hideaways,” about a brother and sister who run away from

home and spend a week hiding out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, children just might be up

for visiting the Getty — not only to see the art, but also to figure out where they would sleep and

bathe if they were to take up residence there.” (Read the LA Times article about the site here ).

Two moms created the site, and it links cultural activities to a related movie so kids will be interested in what might be an otherwise unpalatable outing. Happy Travels!

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