0120 GMT November 13, 2019
Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization is building 15 museums across the country and plans to launch them within two years.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Mohammadreza Kargar, the director general of ICHHTO’s Directorate for Museums and Moveable Cultural Properties, further said the projects have seen a physical progress of 20 percent.
“Despite the problems caused by Western sanctions and lack of sufficient budget, the organization established 40 museums across the country in the past two years, of which 15 were built by ICHHTO, 13 by ministries and state organizations and the rest by private institutes.”
He said almost one museum has become operational every two weeks in the past two years, the last of which was the Islamic Era Museum which was reopened on August 29, nine years after being closed for restoration in 2006. The museum was first launched in 1996.
“ICHHTO is only in charge of a limited number of museums. A large number of other museums are run by private organizations. Despite this, ICHHTO is striving to re-launch inactive private museums, closed for various reasons, through talks with their custodians.”
Among these is the Library, Museum and Archive of Iranian Red Crescent (also known as Ali Akbar Sanati Museum), the custodian of which is the IRCS, he said.
Kargar recalled that Ali Akbar Sanati is a veteran Iranian sculptor whose works are kept at the two museums named after him in Tehran and Kerman.
“Fortunately the museum is under restoration in cooperation with Beautification Organization of Tehran Municipality, IRCS and ICHHTO and will soon become operational.”
He noted currently all the museums across the country, except a number of local ones in Kurdestan and Kermanshah provinces, are in good condition.
Kargar hoped that these museums will also improve following the removal of sanctions and allocation of a greater share of the budget to ICHHTO.
Given the current trend in building and restoring the museums, he predicted that as of mid-March 2016, a museum would become operational each week which would be unprecedented in the country’s history.
A number of collectors have repeatedly requested the government to establish museums to showcase their valuable and personal collections, he disclosed.
“ICHHTO supports them by issuing permits. It has even pledged that in case the applicants buy a building for this purpose, it will help them equip it.”
He said given that ICHHTO, in cooperation with Tehran Municipality, plans to turn the open area in the vicinity of the Mausoleum of Imam Khomeini into a cultural and tourism complex, in all probability the organization would assign some areas to applicants there to display their collections.
“In the year to March 20, 2015, 17.8 million Iranians visited the museums. In this period, the number of foreign tourists visiting the museums and historical buildings and sites reached 870,000. Of course, these figures only pertain to the museums supervised by ICHHTO.”