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Shelburne Museum Offers Lecture on Looting
Cori Wegener, curator at the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts.

SHELBURNE, VT.- Shelburne Museum presents a free lecture, “The Looting of the Iraq National Museum: A Curator’s Perspective,” given by Minneapolis Institute of the Arts (MIA) curator Cori Wegener, a retired major in the U.S. Army Reserve who was stationed in Baghdad. The presentation is 7 p.m. August 3, and is open to the public.

In related news, the Museum has offered free admission passes to all returning members of the Vermont National Guard through the Guard’s State Family Program.

Ms. Wegener, a curator in architecture, design, decorative arts, craft, and sculpture at MIA, served in Iraq as the Arts, Monuments, and Archives Officer for the 352nd Civil Affairs Command. In 2003, following the U.S. invasion, the Iraq National Museum was heavily looted and damaged. Wegener assisted the museum’s staff in beginning the institution’s recovery and reconstruction, and was the liaison for the project between the U.S. military and the Iraqi Ministry of Culture.

“Modern-day Iraq is located in what was ancient Mesopotamia, home to the first cities in history,” says Wegener. “The Iraq National Museum holds one of the most important collections of archaeological artifacts in the world, from the ancient civilizations of Sumer, Babylon, and Assyria, just to name a few.”

Wegener’s lecture includes a slide presentation illustrating the looting and extensive reconstruction to date of the museum, which remains closed to the public. She will also discuss the growing problem of looting at archaeological sites, particularly those located in areas of armed conflict, and attempts by governments and non-governmental organizations to protect cultural treasures at risk.

Says Stephan Jost, director of Shelburne Museum, “Cori’s experience in Iraq is fascinating, and reveals a courageous effort by the Iraq Museum in what are obviously extraordinarily difficult circumstances. We believe Vermonters are interested in this unique perspective of a museum’s role in society, and we hope our returning Guard members will have the opportunity to come enjoy Shelburne this season with their families.”

Though free and open to the public, reservations are suggested for “The Looting of the Iraq National Museum: A Curator’s Perspective” presentation. Reservations are available by calling (802) 985-3348 x3349 or e-mailing Vermont National Guard members interested in taking advantage of the Museum’s offer of free admission passes should contact the Guard’s State Family Program office.

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