Next week we will be opening an extraordinary exhibit, “Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage,” at the National Archives in Washington, DC. The exhibit, spanning more than 400 years, tells the story of the dramatic recovery on May 6, 2003, of 2,700 books and tens of thousands of documents from a flooded basement in the headquarters of the Mukhabarat, Saddam Hussein’s secret police.
The discovery, named the Iraqi Jewish Archive, included some of the most sacred texts of the Jewish people, including an ancient Torah, Talmud and Zohar—along with tens of thousands of documents relating to the Jewish community in Iraq. Upon the discovery of the documents, we were immediately called in due to our Agency’s extensive expertise in protecting great cultural treasures such as these from decay and destruction.
Led by our Director of Preservation Programs, Doris A. Hamburg, and supported by the U.S. Department of State, the National Archives has for more than a decade taken painstaking efforts to preserve these texts and digitize them for universal public access. Their relentless dedication has ensured that these sacred texts will be kept alive and accessible. The result is a wonderful demonstration of the talent which exists here at the National Archives.
The exhibit, in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery, opens on November 7 and closes on January 5, 2014, with guided tours available upon reservation at www.recreation.gov. Check our Calendar of Events for exhibit-associated programming.
Restoring and prolonging the life of archival records, and minimizing their deterioration, is core to the mission of the National Archives, and we are pleased to regularly offer technical advice and assistance on behalf of the U.S. Government, both in the United States and around the world.
Read more about NARA’s efforts to restore the archive:
See the “sneak peek” video of the exhibit:
Learn more about NARA’s Preservation Program: