The Baghdad Museum Project
Now linked to over 3,800 museum records & images


An Open Letter to the Global Community

[First released April 18, 2003]

Dear Friend,

This is our call to help save the Baghdad Museum.

Your creative involvement is urgently needed.

As you know, the Baghdad Museum -- or the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad -- has been looted, stripping it of a priceless collection of cultural artifacts dating back to the dawn of civilization.

As you will see from the "museum walkthrough" presented here, these are major historical treasures not only for the Iraqi people but for all humanity as well.

How can we respond to this cultural catastrophe?

Let's use this as an opportunity to promote better dialogue among our cultures!

The Baghdad Museum Project proposes a 4-part program to not only help save the museum but also to bring about improved relations in the international community. We propose to:

  1. Establish a comprehensive online catalog of all cultural artifacts in the Baghdad Museum to help locate them, discourage illegal dealing in these antiquities, and encourage their safe return to the museum's curators in Baghdad.

  2. Create a virtual Baghdad Museum, a content-rich website -- free to the general public -- based on the Baghdad Museum collection, in order to stimulate cross-cultural appreciation and dialogue. We anticipate that this site would feature the best search and navigation tools, including interactive streaming video, GIS, 3D navigation, and online classrooms.

  3. Build a 3D collaborative workspace within the virtual Baghdad Museum, to allow international teams to work together on renovation designs, exhibit layouts, and new building proposals for the museum in Baghdad, as well as fundraising programs for construction and events.

  4. Establish a resource center for community cultural development within the virtual Baghdad Museum, offering experiences, ideas and success stories that show how people can contribute creatively to their own culture, and thereby strengthen their historical memory.

No matter what your area of expertise, you bring something valuable to the table.

For example:

  • If you are an author or researcher, we ask that you post your work or commentary on our site for non-commercial publication.

  • If you have photographs of pieces from the collection, we urge you to submit them for our online catalog.

  • If you are a programmer or an IT professional, we need project leads and programming teams.

  • If you have been involved with the Iraq National Museum, we need your help in creating the most realistic online reproduction possible of the original museum space.

  • If you are an artist, an architect, a graphic designer, your creative contributions will be prominently featured throughout this site.

Your company, agency, organization, institution or community has much to offer as well. A project like this requires a full range of professional services and expert advice in order to be a success. Your support will show the kind of leadership role you can take on in these times of cultural turmoil.

According to Donny George, Director General of Restoration, Museum of Baghdad, the most pressing need within Iraq is curatorial support and funding for:
  1. a staff of 2,600 people nationwide;
  2. cars, office equipment, computers;
  3. a national survey of Iraqi arcaeological sites;
  4. an assessment of conservation needs in the museums throughout Iraq;
  5. conservation materials and supplies; and
  6. curatorial and conservation coordination in Baghdad. 
We are committed to mobilizing and sustaining the community that will help save the Baghdad Museum. All we need is your active participation.

Thank you for your attention. Looking forward to your response.


John Simmons
The Baghdad Museum Project

Please respond directly to:


We wish to thank the following organizations, media outlets, web sites, academic and community leaders, and the remarkable self-starters who have so far helped to circulate this appeal:

We also wish to take this opportunity to thank the hundreds of people who have so far responded, in just the first few days of this project, with kind offers of help and support in all areas of this endeavor. This is a multi-sector project and a multidisciplinary problem-solving effort, that has so far brought forth the active participation of architects, planners, archaeologists, designers, educators, programmers, researchers, students, community leaders, artists, curators, collectors, dealers, law enforcement agents, activists, religious leaders, writers, reporters, producers, docents, sponsors and benefactors.

All are invited to participate in this community to save the Baghdad Museum and the shared historical memory it represents. Please continue to write and volunteer. Don't hesitate to contact us and we will share with you our concrete needs as they develop. Stay tuned here for news of our progress. We welcome your heartfelt responses and creative contributions.