Oct 17 2020

Under the terms of the merger, overall management of activities previously undertaken by FOBM will transfer to BISI, which will also assume responsibility for FOBM’s remaining funds. BISI will form a new sub-committee to build on FOBM’s achievements to date and which will support the staff of the museum, offer assistance and advice and act as ambassadors for the museum outside Iraq. FOBM Chairman Dr John Curtis and Trustee Sir Terence Clark are respectively President and Patron of BISI already and FOBM Trustees Hugo Clarke, Clare Bebbington and Liane Butcher will serve on the new sub-committee, along with BISI Council members, including BISI Vice Chair, Joan Porter MacIver.

‘The new museum in Basrah is an extraordinary achievement and testimony to the leadership and endorsement of the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, the energy and expertise of the Museum team in Basra and the dedication and determination of the Trustees and project leaders of the Friends of Basrah Museum,’ said BISI Chair of Council Dr Paul Collins. ‘We believe this merger is the best way of ensuring continuing support for what is universally acknowledged as a flagship project.’

FOBM Chairman Dr John Curtis says: ‘It is widely recognised that to have created a new museum of international quality in Iraq in the ten tumultuous years since 2010 has been a remarkable achievement. ‘We’re very proud of what Friends of Basrah Museum has accomplished and it is the right time to merge with an organisation which shares our objectives and commitment to protecting the heritage of Iraq.’

Mar 26 2019
Basrah Museum Galleries open 19 March 2019



The FOBM Trustees are delighted that the three new galleries - Sumer, Babylon and Assyria opened at the Basrah Museum on 19 March. This was made possible through the efforts of Qahtan Al Abeed and the Basrah Museum and Iraq Museum staff members. Two thousand new objects were sent from Baghdad, including some of the pieces from the original Basrah Museum, now installed in a special case in the Basrah Gallery.  The opening ceremony was attended by close to 600 people.  Qahtan Al Abeed, HE Qais Al Rasheed, Maysoon Al Damluji, John Curtis, Victoria Lindsay, Michael Townshend and Alice Walpole all delivered remarks before Qahtan invited guests to attend the cutting of the ribbon to declare the museum galleries fully open. Many of the speakers paid special  tribute to the efforts of Dr Lamia Al Gailani and a moments silence was held to honour her memory and all her efforts on the Basrah Museum project and for Iraqi archaeology.

The Friends of Basrah Museum Chairman Dr John Curtis is cutting the Ribbon with Maysoon Damluji while Qahtan Al Abeed holds the ribbon. The museum was packed with many visitors.

The Museum opening celebration  was followed the next day by a Museum Library workshop conducted by John Dolan OBE and Ayub Khan MBE, who will be assisting the Basrah Museum and the FOBM in establishing a library at the museum and working together on the project funded by the Cultural Protection Fund.

The Trustees wish to thank the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage and the Basrah Provincial Council and the Governor's office for their support on the project.

HWH & Associates and Bur Alaman Company have been invaluable corporate project partners for the project and ensuring the galleries were ready in time.

Mar 15 2019
Further CPF grant funding awarded for Basrah Museum Library & Resource Centre

The FOBM Trustees are delighted to announce further funding of just over £240,000 from the Cultural Protection Fund as an extension to the project work to establish a library and resource centre at the Basrah Museum. The funding also includes  the refurbishment of the library space, training opportunities, a backup power generator, security door and work on a new museum café as part of the grant extension.

The British Institute for the Study of Iraq (BISI) is a partner on this aspect of the project and two international consultants Ayub Khan FCLIP MBE and John Dolan OBE will be assisting the Basrah Museum and the FOBM to implement this aspect of the project during 2019. A library workshop discussion group is planned in March bringing together Basrah Museum staff and volunteers and local stakeholders with the FOBM consultants.

Feb 15 2019
Dr John Curtis elected new Chairman of Friends of Basrah Museum

The Trustees of the Friends of Basrah Museum have elected Dr John Curtis OBE, FBA as their new Chairman. Sir Terence Clark KBE, CMG, CVO,  who served in that role for almost ten years has stepped down but will remain a Trustee of the Charity.

His fellow Trustees thank him for his dedication in helping to found and lead the Charity over the past decade.

Jan 28 2019
The Friends of Basrah Museum and the British Institute for the Study of Iraq to arrange a memorial gathering

The Trustees of the Friends of Basrah Museum and the Council members of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq will be arranging a Memorial Gathering to honour Dr Lamia Al Gailani Werr at the British Academy in London over the coming months. 

There have been many tributes and obituaries. The NYT obituary can be read here.  Dr John Curtis has written an additional tribute on the History page of our website.