Best Art Museum Raided by the Feds - 2008
The Bowers Museum of Cultural Art
So it only took 75 years, but something finally interesting happened at the Bowers. In January, federal investigators raided the place after learning that several Asian antiques, all of them purchased from a Southland dealer on the somewhat shady side, had apparently been looted from historical sites in Thailand. One has to wonder what ethical hand-wringing accompanied the retrieval of Native American and pre-Columbian artifacts that form the bulk of the Bowers' standing collection, much of which one would presume wasn't gifted to them by Ishi (last of the Yahi, you know) or a direct descendant of Eight Deer Jaguar Claw. Thank God lawyers and federal investigators weren't around back then, or else there wouldn't be hundreds of well-displayed artifacts—everything from Navajo baskets to pre-Incan fertility dolls—on hand to enjoy.