Opening Message from FOBM Trustee Dr John Curtis at the formal presentations before the ribbon cutting ceremony on 27 September 2016.
Like most good projects, the New Basrah Museum project has been a long time in coming to fruition. This beautiful Lakeside Palace was identified as a suitable building for Basrah Museum in 2008, and it has taken until now to repair and fit out part of the building. Many individuals have been involved along the way, and I would like to mention particularly Major-General Sir Barney White-Spunner, Neil MacGregor and Major Hugo Clark who were very supportive in the early stages of the project. Then in 2010 the Friends of Basrah Museum was registered as a UK charity under the chairmanship of Sir Terence Clark.
My fellow trustees are Dr Lamia al-Gailani, Clare Bebbington, Liane Butcher, the Hon Alice Walpole and Dr Salah al-Shaikhly.Its purpose was to provide support to the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, and to the Director of Basrah Museum, Qahtan Alabeed, and to raise funds for the development of the museum. For financial contributions to the project, and for contributions in kind, we are most grateful to the BP Foundation, Petrofac, the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, the British Council, the Charlotte Bonham-Carter CharitableTrust, HWH & Associates, Bur Alaman Company, IPBD Ltd, Control Risks Group, Field Energy Services and Pulse Brands.
It remains to say that the opening of the museum today starts a new chapter in the protection of cultural heritage in Iraq. Incidentally, 80 years ago last Monday, as I am informed by Dr al-Gailani, the Iraq Government decided to build a new Iraq Museum in Baghdad. I hope today will be similarly auspicious. We are sure that under the leadership of the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage and its director Qais al-Rashid, and under Basrah Museum director Qahtan Alabeed, and with the help of Basrah Provincial Council, this museum will flourish, and it will be not just be a museum for Basrah, but a museum for Southern Iraq and even for the wider region.