Press Releases

International Experts deliver first Training Course for Basrah Museum Staff and Volunteers

FOBM Trainees

Sixteen staff and volunteers from the Basrah Museum have completed their first training course in museum management, which was organised by Joan Porter MacIver on behalf of the Friends of Basrah Museum (FOBM) in January.

Specialists in the region’s cultural heritage from globally-important museums in the UK and North America delivered sessions on collections management, interpretation, exhibitions, and outreach and access.

Over six days participants had the opportunity to explore a range of issues and techniques which are key to successful museum management - from label writing and object handling to how to attract audiences and engage visitors. The format of the week comprised both formal presentations and interactive sessions and practical workshops.

‘This is a fantastic example of capacity-building and we’re very grateful to the time and efforts that the trainers devoted to making it such a success,’ said Chairman of FOBM Sir Terence Clark. ‘The team at the Basrah Museum led by Qahtan Alabeed has great potential and we’re proud of the part we are playing in helping them to enhance their skills and knowledge.’

Museum Volunteer Tamara Alattiyeh said: ‘Learning from such experienced people was an absolute pleasure – the knowledge we gained, particularly from the practical sessions, was just what we need to work on our vision for the Museum.’

The course was funded by the UK’s Cultural Protection Fund, which is managed by the British Council in partnership with the British Government’s Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport. The trainers, Dr Noorah Al-Gailani (GlasgowLife/Glasgow Museums); Dr Paul Collins (Ashmoleon Museum, Oxford); Dr Ulrike Al Khamis (Aga Khan Museum, Toronto); and Dr Lamia Al Gailani (Friends of Basrah Museum) dedicated their time and efforts pro bono.

Editorial note

The new Basrah Museum is housed in the former Lakeside Palace in a park by the Shatt Al Arab. It is developing into a major cultural resource, not only for the city of Basrah but also for Southern Iraq and the wider region. Galleries focus on the area’s archaeology and history from prehistory down to the development of Basrah as a major trading port, renowned as a centre of scholarship, education, poetry and music.

The Friends of the Basrah Museum is a UK-registered charity established in 2010 to raise funds for the Basrah Museum and to provide support to its Director, Qahtan Alabeed. The trustees are Sir Terence Clark, Dr John Curtis, Liane Butcher, Clare Bebbington, Dr Lamia al-Gailani, Hugo Clarke, Angela Grimshaw and Ian McGregor.

Principal funders of the FOBM are BP and the Cultural Protection Fund, managed by the British Council in partnership with the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport.


Clare Bebbington, Friends of Basrah Museum – tel: +44 7403006106


Mar 26 2019
Three new galleries open at the Basrah Museum


All major exhibition space now fully refurbished and open to the public

The official opening of three new galleries in the Basrah Museum on March 19th marks the completion of a project to refurbish all major exhibition space at the complex. It is a further important milestone in the creation of a major hub for the protection and celebration of the rich cultural heritage of Southern Iraq.

The Sumer, Assyrian and Babylon Galleries will be opened by the end of March and will showcase objects tracing the history of Iraq from c. 3000 BCE to 550 BCE, including statues, cylinder seals, tablets, jewellery, statues, glassware and pottery from many eras from the Iraq Museum in Baghdad and from the Basrah Museum’s original collection. This is the first time that the majority of the exhibits have been on public display in Basrah.

The project to open the new galleries is led by the Director of Antiquities and Heritage of Basrah Qahtan Al Abeed and supported by UK-based charity Friends of Basrah Museum. It includes training and development programmes in labelling, visitor services and museum techniques for staff and volunteers, as well as the creation of an education room for school parties and other young visitors.

The opening will be a tribute to the efforts, dedication and scholarship of leading archaeologist and FOBM Trustee, Lamia Al Gailani Werr who died unexpectedly in Jordan in January this year. Lamia was an unstinting supporter of the Basrah Museum and shared her experience and wisdom generously with cultural heritage specialists in Basrah and Baghdad as the project evolved.

This latest phase of the project was financed by the Cultural Protection Fund, managed by the British Council. It follows the opening of the Museum’s first gallery in 2016. The Basrah Gallery is devoted to the cultural heritage of the city and its environs. It was funded principally by a major grant from UK oil and gas company BP.

A grant extension funding the final phase of the project has been awarded by the Cultural Protection Fund and will focus on the opening of a museum library at the complex for students and academics and members of the public. This phase is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Dec 20 2016
Friends of Basrah Museum wins major grant from new Cultural Protection Fund

The Friends of Basrah Museum is one of seven recipients of the first grants made by  the new Cultural Protection Fund (CPF), which was launched by The British Council in  partnership with the Department of Cultural, Media and Sport. The fund aims to help  to create sustainable opportunities for economic and social development by fostering,  safeguarding and promoting cultural heritage affected by conflict overseas.    

The Friends of Basrah Museum, a registered UK charity, will work with the Department  of Antiquities and Heritage, Basrah, and the State Board of Antiquities in Baghdad to  complete three new galleries and transfer more cultural items from Baghdad to  Basrah. The grant will also fund professional development for museum staff through  a capacity‐building programme delivered by UK museum professionals, including  training for museum staff on exhibition development, interpretation, graphic design,  conservation and scientific analysis.  

‘This is a fantastic opportunity to build on the success of the first gallery which opened  in September,’ said FOBM Chairman Sir Terence Clark. ‘We are very much looking  forward to working with the Basrah Museum and its Director Qahtan Alabeed to  complete this additional exhibition space and enhance the skills of his team.’    

‘The interest in the Basrah Museum has been phenomenal,’ said Qahtan. ‘It’s a great  example  of  how  the  international  community  can  support  us  to  celebrate  and  conserve the rich cultural heritage of southern Iraq. It’s an exciting time for us!’    

Editorial note
The Friends of the Basrah Museum is a UK‐registered charity established in 2010 to  raise funds for the Basrah Museum and to provide support to its Director, Qahtan  Alabeed.    

The £30 million Cultural Protection Fund aims to protect and preserve physical  monuments and religious sites, as well as 'intangible' heritage: inherited traditions,  beliefs and cultural identity, passed down through generations – all of which have  been increasingly under threat in the Middle East and North Africa as so‐called Islamic  State have gained power in the region.

Clare Bebbington, Friends of Basrah Museum – tel: +44 7403006106