UPDATE: Hobby Lobby's "tile samples" - cuneiform tablets, cylinder seals and inscribed
In 2010, the Green family - owners of Hobby Lobby and the force behind the new Museum of the Bible (above) in Washington, DC - ignored warnings of the provenance of several thousand artifacts and purchased them anyway for $1.6 million. Since then, federal investigators reached as settlement with the Greens to forfeit the smuggled artifacts and pay a suibtantial fine. The artifacts are now being returned to Iraq and it Ministry of Culture.
By Peggy McGlone
The Washington Post
May 2, 2018
Hobby Lobby is a national chain of stores dedicated to arts and crafts supplies. David Green opened the first store in 1972 in Oklahoma and eventually expanded the chain nationwide. By 2015, Hobby Lobby had more than 600 stores across the United States. In 2012, the Museum of the Bible was incorporated as a non-profit organization, with David Green, CEO of Hobby Lobby, as the Chair of the Board of Trustees and with the Green family the primary funders of the organization. The Green family also has donated thousands of artifacts to the museum’s collections, which also contains acquisitions from other sources and will include temporary loans from partner institutions in the US and abroad. The museum is under construction and is scheduled to open in Fall 2017.
Although Hobby Lobby, a private for-profit corporation, and the Museum of the Bible, a private non-profit organization, are separate entities, they are inextricably linked by the involvement of the Green family. This relationship became particularly problematic with the recent announcement by the US Department of Justice of a $3 million settlement and the return of 5,500 illegally-acquired artifacts from Iraq, objects acquired by Hobby Lobby.
Recently, the antiquities dealers allegedly used by Hobby Lobby to obtain those artifacts were arrested.
By Daniel Estrin
National Public Radio
July 31, 2017