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San Francisco's Mexican Museum Looks To Clarify Recent Study

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The Mexican Museum in San Francisco is putting itself on exhibit as it tries to clarify recent reports that some of its artifacts may not be authentic.

Andrew Kluger is the board chairman for the Mexican Museum. He is determined to set the record straight. He says local newspapers got it wrong when writing about authentication of the museum's artifacts.

"They printed out not correct information. It spread like wildfire," said Kluger. "I think it was a misinterpretation."

The issue stems from a study released in June. The study commissioned by the museum concluded that only 85 of nearly 2000 pre-Hispanic pieces will be permanently displayed at the new Mexican Museum facility being built in SoMa.

Newspapers took that to mean the rest of the nearly 2,000 pre-Hispanic pieces were fakes.

"The initial interpretation is that these individuals didn't read the full report," said Kluger.

The archaeologist who wrote that report, Dr. Eduardo Perez De Heredia, says the rest of the pieces are still being studied, and may turn out to be real, or may turn out to be fake.

"This is just the process. It's not final. We have twp years to finish examining the collection," said Dr. Perez De Heredi.

He points out that U.S. museums often receive high-end forgeries as donations. The authentication process is meant to sort those out. The Mexican Museum is under heavy scrutiny before it moves to its new location near the SFMOMA.

The $33 million location will open in 2019 and is recognized by the Smithsonian. This makes it a national-level museum, and therefore brings with it higher standards. So while the artwork itself can be left to the viewers own interpretation, the quality cannot.

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