Iraqis Hone Skills To Preserve Heritage

By John Lee.

The University of Arizona’s Drachman Institute is conducting an education program in heritage conservation through the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage, funded by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

The goal of the program is to build Iraqi museum professionals’ capabilities for preserving the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Faculty from the College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture (CAPLA) and the Arizona State Museum are training Iraqis how to take care of the precious ancient artifacts in the country’s museums and sites, alongside academic partners from the Institute and the University of Delaware.

More than 60 Iraqi professionals are participating in two week-long workshops during January and April led by Dr. Nancy Odegaard and Mr. Arthur Vokes of the Arizona State Museum. Dr.Odegaard has served on the Iraqi Institute’s Advisory Council since 2010 and developed the training at the request of Iraq’s museum conservation professionals.

The program consists of two workshops – one for Iraq’s senior administrators who direct the care of artifacts at museums and sites and who set policy for management, and another for museum staff and site managers who organize, inventory, catalogue, store, and preserve collected materials. Participants in each workshop benefit from visits to the nearby Erbil Citadel, currently undergoing excavation and restoration funded by UNESCO and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Dr. Abdullah Khorsheed, Director of the Iraqi Institute, and Mr. Joseph Pennington, U.S. Consul General in Erbil, welcomed the first workshop participants in January.

The University of Arizona is an ideal partner for the Iraqi Institute as both integrate professional conservation education with an emphasis on arid lands and earthen architecture traditions. The Drachman Institute’s Heritage Conservation Program, located within CAPLA, combines outreach and research projects with its multi-disciplinary heritage conservation graduate curriculum.

Contact: Suzanne Bott, PhD Project Director, Drachman Institute | Heritage Conservation

[email protected]

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