Iraqi museum officials visit Historic Jamestowne

The National Park Service reported that a delegation of 10 Iraqi museum directors, archeologists and cultural heritage experts visited Colonial National Historical Park and Historic Jamestowne in the first week of March to determine best practices for museum management, sustainable cultural tourism, and cultural heritage preservation and education.

During their visit sponsored by the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program, they met with Dr. William Kelso, director of archaeology for Preservation Virginia’s Jamestown Rediscovery Project, and with NPS park staff Jonathan Connelly, Keely Lewis, Steve Williams and Elaine Leslie.

“We are delighted to host museum professional from other parts of the world to showcase the spectacular successes of our Jamestown Rediscovery project and to discuss mutual challenges and opportunities,” said Jim Horn, the new president of the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation.  “It was a particular pleasure to meet Mr. Dara Al-Yaqoobi and his colleagues to exchange views on best professional practices, promoting cultural heritage tourism, and the value of private-public partnerships.  We aim to keep in touch.”

Their visit also included meetings with NPS and Preservation Virginia staff to learn more about the management of the site as a public-private partnership and to explore museum maintenance and management of cultural heritage assets in the United States.

The goals of their visit included visiting various private and NPS sites to:

  • Familiarize participants with how “open living museums” function in the United States and how these museums contribute to their community’s cultural and economic development;
  • Examine the development of funding mechanisms that make historical and cultural sites financially viable; and
  • Explore educational outreach strategies for developing a local support network and educating the Iraqi public about the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Historic Jamestowne is jointly administered by Preservation Virginia and the National Park Service and preserves the original site of the first permanent English settlement in the New World.