A modern history of museum lootings

Russia is only the latest country to be accused of illegally plundering priceless artifacts

Museum theft.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images)

On a recent episode of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, the show's host explored the dark history of museums, and how many of the world's most beloved institutions have built collections of priceless artifacts ... many of which don't exactly belong to them. Oliver's story brought renewed scrutiny to a topic that has been in the headlines recently. From American museums being pressured into sending back stolen African heirlooms to countless accusations of looting and cultural destruction in Ukraine by the invading Russian forces, museums across the world are reaching an impasse with many of the items in their archives. As these museums continue to face anger for their historical actions, it is important to keep in mind the history behind this looting. Here's everything you need to know:

How many museums are filled with stolen artifacts?

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