After more than three years since the liberation of the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State, the city and its landmarks are starting to recover. A collaboration between the Geneva-based Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH), the Musee du Louvre, the Smithsonian Institution, and the World Monuments Fund (WMF) is working to recover the Mosul Cultural Museum.
ALIPH was founded in response to the need for restoration work in Iraq. The restoration of the Mosul Cultural Museum was one of their first funded projects. The alliance funded 28 projects in Iraq at a cost of more than $9 million.
The museum represents the multicultural character of Iraqi society. It suffered a great deal of damage under ISIS rule. Many of the figurative statues were dismembered, and a rich collection of embellished frescos and Assyrian paintings was looted.
“I think the whole museum community felt like this really was a terrible crime against culture and history, and we had to do something about it,” Richard Kurin, ambassador-at-large at the Smithsonian Institution, told Arab News.
A dedicated local Iraqi team is working to assess the damage and sort the debris which in itself is an enormous challenge. The Louvre has supplied the necessary technology to piece the objects back together. Experts hope that the museum will fully open its doors once again in three to four years time.