Restoring Conservation Labs of the Iraq National Museum

The Iraq National Museum was damaged during the recent armed conflict: besides the cultural objects, most of the laboratory equipment and material was also stolen or smashed. Only a few tables, chairs and cupboards, an old Scanning Electron Microscope, a fumigation chamber and two kilns were left behind. During the sanctions, the situation was worsening as a consequence of neglect, absence of technical staff and resources to maintain all vital facilities at the museum which are in need of major rehabilitation.

To address this, UNESCO undertook a project to re-install conservation laboratories in the museum, prepare a plan for conservation to save threatened objects, and train museum conservation experts on the latest techniques for conservation using modern equipment. The rehabilitation work on the museum, which lasted from December 2004 to February 2005, focused on emergency rehabilitation. UNESCO then procured new equipment for the museum.

UNESCO also sent 16 conservation experts from the Museum to attend six training courses in the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Japan. They were trained in several techniques, ranging from the use of modern conservation equipment, to the use of conservation tools and chemicals to conserve wood objects, textiles and conduct emergency conservation, among others.

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