Iraq Cultural Heritage Program
In the immediate aftermath of the removal of Sadaam Hussein’s government in 2003, the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad was infamously sacked and looted. In order to restore the home of priceless pieces of world heritage, IRD, with funding from the U.S. State Department, will train museum staff in conservation and historic preservation and will rehabilitate the museum itself.
Specifically, the goals of the $13 million program are to:
Establish a Conservation and Historic Preservation Institute in Erbil focusing on technical and professional training. This will be done in partnership with the Walters Art Museum, the Winterthur Conservation Program, the University of Delaware, and the U.S. National Park Service.
Improve the professional environment in the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad. This includes rehabilitation of the museum infrastructure, design, and development of new collections storage facilities, improvements to museum gallery space and to the museum’s conservation laboratory. This component will also be done together with the Walters Art Museum and the Winterthur Conservation Program.
Develop the professional capacity for Iraq’s museum staff with a two-year professional development. The program will be developed for employees of the Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, the Iraq National Museum, and other museums. The aim is to build a cadre of professionals who may be employed as conservators, collection managers, registrars, and other experts necessary for an effectively functioning museum. This will be done in conjunction with the Field Museum of Natural History and the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.
Through this program, IRD will help overcome the effects of decades during which Iraqis were unable to actively engage with the international professional community or cultivate a new generation of professionals and return to preeminence in the field of archaeology and preservation.