Emergency Preparedness and Salvage
In October 2003 the US State Department sent four museum professionals to Baghdad to assess the conditions of the Iraqi Museum and make recommendations about what needed to be put in place in order to get the museum functioning after the war. As the only collections person on this team, I saw first hand the effects of the war on the collections in the museum. This paper will discuss what precautions the museum staff were able to implement to protect the collections and assess their effectiveness. It will also discuss how the war affected staff morale and the role this, in turn, had on the safety of the collections. The paper will then look at the broader issues of how museums can, or cannot, be protected against armed conflict, using examples in Beirut, Kuwait and Afghanistan as well as Iraq.
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