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National Museum
Street address: Darulaman, Kabul, Kabul Province, Afghanistan
Contact: Omara Khan Masoodi Director
Telephone: 93 (0) 70 290333 (mobile)
Contact: Mohammad Yahia Muheeb Zada Deputy Director
Telephone: 93 (0) 70 296655 (mobile)
Contact: Shiraz Aldin Restorer
Opening hours: Contact Omara Khan Masoodi for appointment before visiting to ensure that the doors are open
National Museum (Linda Mazur)The first museum in Afghanistan comprised the King's collection of historically important items, assembled in 1919 in the Bagh e Bala Palace. It was moved to Darulaman in 1931. The National Museum was once one of the most important museums in the world because of its unique collection. More than 90 per cent of its exhibits were scientifically excavated inside Afghanistan and the contracts signed with foreign archaeologists ensured that the artifacts were given to the museum. A complete timeline of Afghanistan’s history could be seen in the museum. The museum's collections were either looted during the war or smashed later by the Taliban. With the help of the American Embassy, the Kabul Museum should soon regain its second floor and a roof while the first floor has been restored with the help of the Greek Government. However the original building, located on land owned by the Municipality was built as office space and is not ideally suited as a museum. According to estimates only 25 to 30 per cent of the original collection has survived. The restoration work to rebuild the collection has just started and this work can now be accelerated. The Musée Guimet (France), the British Museum and SPACH (Society for the Preservation of Afghanistan's Cultural Heritage) will contribute to the inventory taking and the training of personnel. British engineers with the ISAF (International Security Forces for Afghanistan) troops based in Kabul have restored three rooms that are ready for the restoration department. The British Museum is to supply the materials. The Japanese National Research Institute of Cultural Properties in Tokyo supplied all the photo equipment for the new inventory, as well as computers and a printer. UNESCO organised a training course for two staff members in the use of this photo equipment. What is left of the collection is currently housed in the museum storerooms, the Presidential Palace and the Ministry of Culture and Youth Affairs office, in metal and wood crates. The museum is located eight kilometres outside the city centre in an area that was devastated by the wars. With the assistance of SPACH, electricity has been reinstalled and UNESCO has supplied a generator. The wiring in the museum now needs to be replaced. However the issue of security is still a problem, as the area is deserted and the potential for further looting is always a spectre on the horizon. The Ministry has allocated space closer to the city but it was not considered acceptable. Eventually an international appeal will be made for funds to construct a new museum in the city.
The Afghanistan Cultural Profile was created with financial support from the British Council Afghanistan
Date updated: 11 June 2007
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