Reopening of Museum in Baghdad Is Uncertain

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Great museums engender great debate, and there is no exception for Iraq. Officials here
are at odds over the reopening of Iraq’s National Museum, the renowned institution that was pillaged
after the American invasion in 2003 and has been closed to the public ever since.

Last week, Iraq’s state minister for tourism and antiquities announced that next Monday the museum
would reopen, an eagerly anticipated event seen as a milestone in the country’s recovery. In a
statement on Sunday, though, the Culture Ministry overruled the decision and put off indefinitely
the chance for Iraqis to return to a museum that holds a rich collection of archaeological relics
and art.

Jabir al-Jabiri, the senior deputy at the Culture Ministry, said in a telephone interview that the
reopening announcement had been premature and surprised the ministry officials who have the final say....

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