Press/Journalists

Press Release
November 26, 2013

National Archives Marks New Exhibit with Special Programs in December

Iraqi Jewish Archive project and exhibit showcase National Archives’ preservation expertise

Washington, DC…In December, the National Archives features three special programs to celebrate the new exhibition, "Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage." The programs will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. Attendees should use the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue at 7th St., NW.

Tuesday, December 3, at noon.
BOOK TALK: New Babylonians: A History of Jews in Modern Iraq
Although Iraqi Jews saw themselves as Iraqi patriots, their community—which had existed in Iraq for more than 2,500 years—was displaced following the establishment of the state of Israel. New Babylonians, by historian Orit Bashkin, chronicles the lives of these Jews, their urban Arab culture, and their hopes for a democratic nation-state. It studies their ideas about Judaism, Islam, secularism, modernity, and reform, focusing on Iraqi Jews who internalized narratives of Arab and Iraqi nationalisms and on those who turned to communism in the 1940s. A book signing will follow the program.

Thursday, December 5, at 7 p.m.
PANEL DISCUSSION: Discovery and Recovery: Eyewitness Accounts
Greg Myre, journalist and NPR's digital editor for international news, will moderate a panel of experts who will chronicle the dramatic story behind the exhibit and discuss the historic significance of the items saved. National Archives experts Doris Hamburg, Director of Preservation Programs; Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler, Conservation Chief; and Dina Herbert, Iraqi Jewish Archive (IJA) project librarian, will be joined by Maurice Shohet, an Iraqi Jew who with his family fled Baghdad in 1970 (now the President of the World Organization of Jews from Iraq), and William D. Cavness, Jr., retired Foreign Service Officer.

Tuesday, December 17, at 11 a.m.
PANEL DISCUSSION: Preserving the Iraqi Jewish Archive
Join the team working on the Iraqi Jewish Archive Preservation Project for a discussion about their daily work to preserve and make available the documents from this collection. Learn about the recovery effort and the history of the project. Find out about other books and documents not seen in the exhibit. Hear from conservators about treatments used to stabilize materials for digitization. Digital imaging specialists will talk about the incredible work put in to make all the unique materials available for access on the new IJA website [http://www.ija.archives.gov]. This program is presented in partnership with the National Archives Assembly.

About the exhibit "Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage"

Located in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery, "Discovery and Recovery" is free and open to the public and runs through January 5, 2014. The exhibition details the dramatic 2003 recovery of historic materials relating to the Jewish community in Iraq from a flooded basement in Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters, and the National Archives’ ongoing work in support of U.S. Government efforts to preserve these materials. In both English and Arabic, the 2,000 square foot exhibit features 24 recovered items and a “behind the scenes” video of the fascinating yet painstaking preservation process.This exhibit marks the first time these items have been on public display. Preview online [www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZmP0uwzEII].

Public tours

Guided tours for the public are given on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday at 11 a.m. while the exhibition is on view; reservations may be made through www.recreation.gov

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For more information call the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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