The British Museum has developed a policy with regard to the human remains in its collection according to the recommendations of the Code of Practice published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in October 2005, and following the advice set out in that Code of Practice.
The DCMS Code of Practice was itself developed to provide guidance to museums in relation to the provisions of the Human Tissue Act 2004.
While the Human Tissue Act 2004 gave the Trustees of the British Museum the power to deaccession human remains, the Trustees generally presume that the Museum’s collection should remain intact. This policy sets out the circumstances in which they would accept any claim, and gives guidance on the procedures to be followed by those seeking to submit a claim for the return of human remains in its collections that are less than one thousand years old to a community of origin.
The policy is also intended to provide information about the nature of the human remains in the British Museum collection; to set out how the Museum curates, researches and displays the human remains in its collection.