National Museum of Iraq

The Iraq Museum
National Museum Iraq.jpg
The Iraq Museum in 2008

The Iraq Museum (formal title in English) (Arabic: المتحف العراقي) (formal title in Arabic) is the national museum of Iraq, a museum located in Baghdad, Iraq. It is sometimes mistakenly called the National Museum of Iraq, a recent phenomena influenced by other nations' naming of their national museums; but The Iraq Museum's name is inspired by the name of The British Museum. The Iraq Museum contains precious relics from the Mesopotamian, Babylonian and Persian civilization. It was looted during and after the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Despite international efforts, only some of the stolen artifacts were returned. After being closed for many years while being refurbished, and rarely open for public viewing, the museum was officially reopened in February 2015.


After World War I, archaeologists from Europe and the United States began several excavations throughout Iraq. In an effort to keep those findings from leaving Iraq, British traveller, intelligence agent, archaeologist, and author Gertrude Bell began collecting the artifacts in a government building in Baghdad in 1922. In 1926, the Iraqi government moved the collection to a new building and established the Baghdad Antiquities Museum, with Bell as its director.[1] Bell died later that year; the new director was Sidney Smith.

In 1966, the collection was moved again, to a two-story, 45,000-square-meter (480,000-square-foot) building in Baghdad's Al-Ṣāliḥiyyah neighborhood in the Al-Karkh district on the east side of the Tigris River. It is with this move that the name of the museum was changed to the National Museum of Iraq. It was originally known as the Baghdad Archaeological Museum.

Bahija Khalil became the director of the Iraqi Museum in 1983. She was the first woman director[2] and she held that role until 1989.

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