Iraq Museum reopening

For this week’s blog post I read an article about the impending reopening of the Iraq Museum. During the 2003 invasion by the United States many artifacts were looted from the museum during the chaos. The failure of the United State military forces to properly secure the museum and prevent the looting was a large controversy during the war. Since then there has been a massive effort to recover the looter artifacts. Most of the large artifacts have been recovered, and the museum is working to increase security. The plans are to open the museum sometime in 2014.

I thought this was an interesting article to read as it shows relates to many of the recent topics covered during class such as protecting and recovering artifacts and also because it is impacted by the actions of the United States. I don’t want to go into the reasons for the war and the ethics behind it, but I think that when a war is fought, it is our responsibility to protect artifacts and museums. Obviously the safety of soldiers is the top priority, but damaging museums and historical sites should be avoided at all costs, and after an invasion, the invading forces have a responsibility to protect and secure the artifacts in their current location. I think everyone would agree that the U.S. could and should have done a better job with that.

The Iraq museum has been able to recover many artifacts and repair much of the damage from the war. The museum is very important as it contains artifacts not just from Iraq but from ancient Mesopotamia, one of the origins of civilization. Many of the most valuable arguments are still secured in vaults, so they will not be visible when the museum reopens; however, the artifacts that will be displayed are still significant. The reopening of the Iraq museum is a big step in the recovery process from the war.

The article can be read at this link:

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2014/0412/Overcoming-looting-and-years-of-war-Iraq-Museum-moves-to-reopen

3 thoughts on “Iraq Museum reopening

  1. Unfortunately it appears that Iraq Museum has had to make the best of the worst situation. I am very glad that the museum had taken as many precautions as it could afford, and that the most valuable assets were locked away. The Middle East has such a rich culture and heritage, it would be just tragic if it lost the archaeological record of that. It’s also astounding to me that it’s taken so long to return and restore artifacts. It really makes you appreciate and think about all the effort that goes into curating a museum.

    I agree with you that the safety of soldiers and civilians is a top priority, but I am very glad that light has been shed on this entire scenario. I find that the US seems to invade countries (whether rightfully or not is a different debate for someone else more versed in these areas), and naturally chaos ensues. Where I have difficulty is in situations like this, where the US leaves the other country to deal with the mess that it is at the very least partially responsible for. Too often countries and people in general overlook the cost of war on the arts and humanities.

  2. It is sad to see that the present day conflicts that happen between societies serve as the reason in which many of our history is lost. This article reveals that societal priority relishes in modern day conflict rather than preservation in what makes society it is today. It also stresses, the disastrous effects human selfishness has on the preservation of ones history. The looting of these artifacts serves as a severe treat to the Middle Eastern archaeological collection.
    However, in the same instance that we lose our cultural heritage, it can be argued that we create modern conflict archaeological evidence. the practices that are done today, serve as a new discoveries for the future. The evidence which is left behind in our modern day conflicts, may serve as key indicators of societal issues that existed and resulted in the conflict’s occurrence. This discovery in future generations may cause many to delve into a new found interest of archaeological discovery, ultimately encouraging society to preserve their past.
    Therefore, even though our present society does not presently maintain priority for our history, maybe in order to be appreciated we must feel the absence of history in our daily lives. I think only until then, will society fully cherish the social implications of history.

  3. Your post brings up many of the things we have address in class. Before class and your article I did not realize less developed countries would even have museums. I thought they would be too busy trying to survive or too busy killing each other. At the very least these things makes them impossible to maintain.

    It is also interesting to think about museum looting. I can see how it happens in countries under stresses like war but I wonder if the kind of looting one sees in movies ever happens. For example, there is some prized artifact in say a European museum and a cat burglar sneaks in to take it. I have really learned a lot from class I had no idea the black market was so big with this stuff, so maybe cat burglars do exists.

    It is interesting that you bring up that the solders should take care to protect the museum. I do not know much about war but it seems that building and all other sort of things get destroyed in the cross fire. I do think that priceless artifacts should be taken care of but I would think that was more the job of museum security. Solders should have respect and should try not to fight around museums and such but to me it seems there job is to focus on what they want (politically or otherwise) through force.

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