Resources on The Looting and Destruction of the Collections of the National Museum and Library of Iraq



The 2003 Iraq War and Archaeology--> Extensive website sponsored by the American Institute of Architects with many links, compiled by Francis Deblauwe, Ph.D.

Iraq: The Cradle of Civilization at Risk --> Excellent material on the impact of  war on Iraqi cultural sites put together by the art E-zine H-Museum.

The Threat to World Heritage in Iraq --> Oxford University site

Museumnet --> Links to articles

Oriental Institute WWW News --> Links to articles & broadcasts, particularly for the period leading up to the disaster

The Cultural Heritage of Iraq --> University of Pennsylvania Museum site

Destruction of Iraq's Art -->  Arts Journal links to news relevant news articles

Select Articles and Editorials

Premonitions and warnings:

"Blown away " --> Donald MacLeod, Manchester Guardian, March 25, 2003

"The end of civilisation" --> Fiachra Gibbons, Manchester Guardian, April 2, 2003 (includes Slide Show)

 "Petition to safeguard Iraqi heritage"  --> Manchester Guardian, April 10, 2003

 "US lobby could threaten Iraqi heritage"  --> Donald MacCleod, Manchester Guardian, April 10, 2003

"US officer warned that there was a risk the museum would be looted" --> By Martin Bailey, The Art Newspaper

The disaster & its aftermath

"Museum's treasures left to the mercy of Looters"  --> Jonathan Steele, Manchester Guardian, April 14, 2003

"Islamic Library Burned to the Ground" --> Robert Fisk, The Independent, April 15, 2003

 "Crimes Against History"   --> Boston Globe Editorial, April 15, 2003

"The Chase in On: For antiquities experts, the chase is on to recover the relics looted from Iraq's National Museum -->By Geoff Edgers, Boston Globe Staff, 4/15/2003

 "Raiders of the Lost Art: Why didn't we protect the National Museum and Library in Baghdad?" --> By Meghan O'Rourke, Slate,  April 17, 2003

"Liberation and Looting in Iraq"  --> Findlaw's Writ  Article by  Joan Mariner, April 14, 2003.

"And Now: Operation Iraqi Looting" --> New York Times op-ed piece by Frank Rich, April 27, 2003

The art market connection:

"Were Baghdad's Antiquities Thieves Ready?" --> Jack Ewing and Joseph Webber, Business Week Online, April 17, 2003.

"U.S. Accused of Planning to Loot Iraqi Antiques"  --> Liam McDougall, Sunday Herald, s.d.

Video & Audio:

 NPR Connections Interview with Dick Gorden Broadcasting from Baghdad

Bagdhad Museum Looted -->  Channel 4 (UK) Report

WCTX Broadcast  --> April 14 Interview with Yale Orientalist


 Treasures of the Iraq Museum  -->  Small Image Database compiled from the Museum's Collection Catalog.

 University of Innsbruk's Iraq Museum Website

Click on
      Erdgeschoss (lower level)
       and on
      Stockwerk (upper level)

      (click on the names of the galleries for thumbnail photos,
      then click on the thumbnails to see larger versions of the images)

Lost Treasures of Iraq --> Images from the University of Chicago


 1954 Hague Conventionfor the Protection of Cultural Property  in the Event of Armed Conflict

Cultural Organizations:

IFLA (International Federation of Library Association) --> Information Page

British School of Archaeology in Iraq -->  Society Information Page

Association of Art Museum Directors "Statement on Baghdad Museum"

ICOM (International Coundil of Museums) --> Information on Iraqi Museums Collections

AAM: American Association of Museums  --> Includes many links

Archaeological Insitute of America --> AIA News: "Open Declaration on Cultural Heritage at Risk in Iraq"

Society of American Archivists  --> Statement on Iraqi Archives

Recovery :

"What Can Be Done to Recover Iraq's Art? " -->  Four-part Washington Post Op/Ed piece, April 27, 2003, by Irene Winter (prof. Mespotamian art, Harvard), Martin Sullivan (resigned as chairman of the US Cultural Property Advisory Committee April 14), Richard Zettler (Assoc. Curator U. Penn Museum), and András Riedlmayer (Bibliographer in Islamic art, Harvard Fine Arts Library).

The Baghdad Museum Project -->  The  Baghdad Museum Project is a non-profit organization with a 4-part proposal to help save the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad, following the looting of the museum in April, 2003. The Baghdad Museum Project seeks to (1) establish a comprehensive online catalog of all cultural artifacts in the museum's collection, (2) create a virtual Baghdad Museum that is accessible to the general public over the Internet, (3) build a 3D collaborative workspace within the virtual Baghdad Museum for design and fundraising purposes, and (4) establish a resource center within the virtual Baghdad Museum for community cultural development.

INTERPOL Incident Response Team on Stolen Iraqi Art --> INTERPOL Press release

Compiled by Thomas Hill, Art Librarian (
Last updated April 28, 2003