Conservation training program for Iraqi experts

Training for conserving and restoring dyed textiles (Joshibi University of Art and Design)

 The project of fostering experts in conservation laboratories of Iraq National Museum has been conducted since 2004 with funding from grants from the Institute and UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust. Through this project, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has invited total 18 conservation experts as trainees, and trainees who have returned to their home countries are making use of the techniques they learned in restoring various cultural properties.
 In pevious training sessions, the trainees have practiced using the equipment offered to the museum, centering on metalware, with the cooperation of various organizations in Japan. This year, we conducted training on the conservation and restoration of dyed textiles, and using the instruments necessary to conserve and restore cultural heritage and analyze materials (training on equipment use), in line with the wishes of UNESCO and the Iraq National Museum. Although it was a relatively short period of three months from June 18 to September 19, we not only conducted training on conservation and restoration techniques, but introduced lectures on the concept of conservation that informs the techniques and on diverse scientific knowledge, as well as practical training aimed at fostering human resources who can train specialists at each museum rather than just simple restoration experts. The training was carried out with the cooperation of university researchers, who took the lead of conservation and analysis of dyed textiles, as well as conservation/restoration experts. At the Shizuoka Research Institute for Buried Cultural Heritage, the trainees learned how to conserve archeological relics, treat unearthed objects at an excavation site, and handle items buried at actual sites. In terms of practical training on the conservation and restoration of dyed textiles, we asked professors specialized in the basics of conservation and the history of dyed textiles to give basic lectures on their specialties, and the trainees had practical training on conservation/restoration and storage management of the short-sleeved kimono of the Edo Period and the Coptic textiles owned by Joshibi University of Art and Design with the cooperation of the university. The trainees also attended lectures on the usage of various instruments and analytical techniques as well as practical training with the cooperation of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques of the Institute and the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. In January 2009, some exhibitions restarted in the Iraq National Museum. So far, one-third of the cultural properties which were lost during the chaos in Iraq have been returned to the Museum, and they are now gradually but securely advancing toward restoration. We are looking forward to seeing the conservation specialists who participated in this training bear the future of the Museum and contribute to Iraq’s recovery.

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