Special Exhibit Opening and Exclusive Members’ Reception

CATASTROPHE: The Looting and Destruction of Iraq’s Heritage

April 10, 2008
5:30 pm–8:30 pm

Post-Event Comments:

On Thursday, April 10, the Oriental Institute Museum opened its newest special exhibit "Catastrophe! The Looting and Destruction of Iraq’s Past" co-curated by Professor McGuire Gibson and graduate student Katharyn Hanson (exhibit was highlighted in last issue of News & Notes). The opening coincided with the five-year anniversary of the looting of the Baghdad Museum and was a poignant way to remember the destruction that has taken place and is currently taking place in Iraq.

The evening began with a member’s reception in the Research Archives where a record crowd came out for appetizers and wine pre-lecture. Thanks again to Foy Scalf, Head of the Research Archives, for allowing us to host our members in this beautiful space. McGuire Gibson, Professor of Mesopotamian Archaeology, continued the evening’s events with a lecture in Breasted Hall entitled "The Destruction of Iraq’s Cultural Heritage: The View from Five Years On," with over 170 in attendance. Professor Gibson outlined the destruction of the Baghdad Museum on those fateful days in 2003, and gave an update on the current condition and future of the Museum. He also spoke about the ongoing destruction of the archaeological sites located throughout the country and how the looting is causing significant damage to the contextual understanding of the past.

Professor Gibson finished the lecture by inviting people to visit the special exhibit and outlining ways they can get involved to help make a difference in this matter. The audience then had a chance to have the first viewing of the special exhibit before the night’s events ended with a vigil in the Yelda Khorsabad Court.

The vigil, organized in conjunction with SAFE (Saving Antiquities for Everyone), was a fitting way to end the evening by having a moment of silence to pay respect to the destruction that has occurred in Iraq. Donny George, former Director of the Baghdad Museum, gave a very emotional account of the days following the looting and thanked everyone for their ongoing support

Join us for the opening of the special exhibit: Catastrophe! The Destruction and Looting of Iraq’s Past (April 10–Dec 31, 2008) on April 10, 2008 at the Oriental Institute.

5:30 PM: Members are welcome at a special reception with the faculty and curatorial staff of the exhibit in the Oriental Institute Research Archives.

6:30 PM: Public lecture: The Destruction of Iraq’s Cultural Heritage: The view from five years on presented by Professor McGuire Gibson.
Breasted Hall

7:15 PM: Viewing of special exhibit: CATASTROPHE: The Looting and Destruction of Iraq’s Heritage.
Oriental Institute Museum, Holleb Special Exhibits Gallery

8 PM: Candlelight (flashlight) vigil organized in conjunction with by SAFE (Saving Antiquities for Everyone) marking the 5th anniversary of the looting of the Baghdad Museum.
Oriental Institute Museum galleries.

  • For more information or to RSVP, please contact Sarah Sapperstein, Membership Coordinator, (773) 834-9777, or email: oi-membership@uchicago.edu

Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in this event should contact the event sponsor for assistance.