The British Museum and BP, the multinational oil and gas corporation, will be ending their sponsorship agreement after 27 years. The decision comes after sustained pressure from activist groups who criticized the partnership as a way for BP to "artwash" its contributions to global warming.
The museum spokesperson initially denied the report but later clarified that the current partnership with BP will end this year. BP had extended its partnership with the museum and three other institutions until 2023. The final exhibition sponsored by BP was titled "Hieroglyphs: Unlocking Ancient Egypt."
The move to end the sponsorship deal is seen as a positive step towards the museum's aspirations to become a "net-zero" institution and demonstrates the role of cultural institutions in addressing climate change. The British Museum is among the last major arts institutions in the UK to sever ties with BP, as other organizations like the Tate and the Royal Shakespeare Company have already done so. The end of the partnership comes at a time when BP reported record profits but reduced its commitment to carbon emissions reduction targets. Activists have engaged in creative protests over the years to urge the British Museum to end its affiliation with BP.