As the Minister with responsibility for national museums I am always very interested in the projects that publicly funded museums are undertaking and I am particularly interested in a project the British Museum are currently undertaking.
The British Museum are being supported by the Government in an ‘Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme’, and working in conjunction with the Government to help build capacity in the Iraq State Board of Antiquities and Heritage by training 50 Iraqi staff in a wide variety of sophisticated conservation techniques of retrieval and rescue archaeology. Essentially, the scheme is all about training archaeologists in the Mosul region of Iraq in modern archaeological methods to help them preserve the abundance of historic sites in the region.
This scheme has particular significance because of the appalling destruction of heritage sites in Iraq and Syria by Daesh. As the Heritage Minister I am happy to support this important scheme (the Government has granted £2.9 million over five years to assist with the scheme). Some of those being trained as part of this scheme recently came to visit the UK and the British Museum and I had the pleasure of meeting them and giving them a tour of Parliament. The UK plays a hugely important role in global affairs and this scheme is just one small example of the good we can do in the world and I am pleased to have been involved.