IRAQ - Iraqi National Library and Archive, Baghdad

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Address:
Iraqi National Library and Archives, Bab Almuadam, Baghdad 143 40
Description of work:
Construction of a restoration workplace for salvage and conservation of damaged precious documents in the Iraq National Library and Archive in Baghdad
Investor: Czech Government Program - Reconstruction of cultural heritage in Iraq and the help of the Czech Republic 
Contractor:
GEMA ART GROUP a.s./ National library in Prague/ National archive in Prague
Implementation:
2004 - 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 PHOTOGALLERY:
The Building of Iraqi National Library and Archive, Baghdad The Building of Iraqi National Library and Archive, Baghdad View of moving the archives View of the destroyed interior View of the destroyed interior View of the destroyed interior Damaged precious archives Damaged precious archives Damaged precious archives

 The INLA – Iraqi National Library and Archives – was in the days following fall of the Saddam regime burnt twice. It is highly probable that it was an organised act of the security forces of the former regime with the objective to destroy mainly the modern archive funds that contained possibly incriminating materials.
Immediately afterwards, the shelter that contained the extraordinarily precious historical funds of the, so-called Ottoman Archive was flooded. Late intervention saved only part of the archive, which was packed in 156 metallic packing cases and placed in a freezer, where it should have waited for security of professional restoration intervention.

Immediately after start of co-operation between the INLA and the Czech experts from GEMA ART GROUP, The National Library in Prague and The National Archive in Prague in 2004, the Iraqi side requested for aid in the preparation of a project for the salvage of damaged public documents and training of Iraqi restorers. The salvage of the Ottoman Archive was earmarked as an absolute priority for further action on the part of the INLA.
The Czech Republic and its National Archive have great experience with the restoration of frozen public documents damaged by water after the catastrophic floods of 2001. Using funds provided by the Government of the Czech Republic for the purpose of quick initial aid, 12 Iraqi restorers specialising in the salvage of public records damaged by water were trained in a two-month course at the Institute for Conservation and Restoration Techniques in Litomyšl in the winter of 2004. The INLA with unprecedented generosity provided three packages of frozen damaged documents for study, which were analysed in the restoration laboratories of the National Library in Prague and the National Archive in Prague in all professional aspects of microbiological attack, physical damage, structure of the base and writing material, or binding. In co-operation with the Iraqi experts, the best methods for the restoration of the Ottoman Archive collection damaged by water were set and other methods for realisation of the essential restoration intervention were also studied.