After six years of reconstruction, Iraq’s National Museum reopened its doors this week. The institution, which was ransacked as soldiers stood by powerless, suffered major losses during the American led invasion, and much of the priceless collection was scattered throughout Iraq.
Now, with only one third of the collection restored, the museum just opened its doors to a phalanx of politicians and VIPs, then plans to remain open for regular visitors.
Looking at the gallery (below,) it’s clear to see that the museum has been not only restored but that it’s actually marvelous, with clean polished floors, large, vaulted ceilings and proper restoration and museum techniques.
But the museum’s opening is far more symbolic.
It represents the state of the culture in Baghdad, the slow recovery from a war torn, divided country and the security necessary to open up a cultural center in a former battleground. There is no doubt that Iraq is still a very dangerous place, but the opening of the National Museum is one step closer to a safer, successful society.