Under the auspices of the First Lady of Iraq, H.E. Hero Ibrahim Ahmad, and with the support of UNESCO Office in Iraq, the Sulaymaniyah Museum inaugurated on Thursday 19 March 2013 the exhibition entitled "In Writing: Objects from the collections of the Sulaymaniyah Museum". Organized in cooperation with Sulaymaniyah Governorate and the Department of Antiquity of Sulaymaniyah, and displayed on 170m² of renovated museum gallery, this prefiguration exhibition explores the achievements of mankind through objects featuring ancient writings from the Sulaymaniyah museum collections, the second largest in Iraq.
"Through the showcased objects, this exhibition highlights the unique richness of the cultural heritage of the region, including cuneiform masterpieces dating back to the 3rd Millennium BC. The state-of-the-art display of this exhibition creates a new relationship between the public and the museum collection. It is conceived to inspire the modernization not only of the Sulaymaniyah museum, but also of other museums in Iraq”, stated the Director of the UNESCO Office in Iraq Louise Haxthausen. "After two years of work on upgrading the management and educational approaches of the Sulaymaniyah museum, UNESCO is more than satisfied with the results achieved", she added, confirming UNESCO commitment to make the Sulaymaniyah Museum "a true regional landmark in the field of museology". Mrs. Haxthausen also praised the First Lady's contributions to safeguard Iraq’s cultural heritage, particularly in the Kurdistan region.
Governor of Sulaymaniyah Mr. Bahroz Muhammed Salih also expressed his admiration to the new approach adopted by the Museum. “The exhibition is simple, yet the artifacts draw you in and force you to read the description. As I’m an engineer I can relate to the hard work put in the exhibition”, he said.
In addition to H.E the First Lady of Iraq, many high level officials attended the event including the Minister of Culture and Youth in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) HE Kawa MahmoudH, the Governor of Sulaymaniyah Mr. Bahroz Mohammed Salih, diplomats, UN representatives, as well as many officials from the Iraqi culture sector, academics and scholars.
Participants were introduced to the new Master Plan of the Sulaymaniyah Museum, prepared in the framework of the project entitled "Modernizing the Sulaymaniyah Museum", a pioneering initiative implemented by UNESCO with the financial support of the Governorate of Sulaymaniyah and the European Union through the UNDG-Iraq Trust Fund.
With the aim to take the Sulaymaniyah Museum into the 21st century, this project introduces state-of-the-art museological best practices; organization and management enhancement; educational programmes; care of collections; building renovation and expansion; and the redesign of the museum’s permanent exhibition.
Since the launch of the project, the museum has achieved important results in restructuring and creating new administrative and scientific staff positions, formulating new policies and procedures, and providing relevant training to the staff. The museum management also established a Department of Education dedicated to acquainting children and adults with the museum’s collections, as well as to introducing the notion of the museum as a centre of learning and a forum for the exchange of ideas.