|History and Biodata
National Museum of Afghanistan Head:
Dr. Omara Khan Masoudi Umra Khan Masoodi (1978, 20081026, 20121205, 20130701, 20140408, 2015 retired)
Mohammad Fahim Rahimi (20160119)
The first museum in Afghanistan was established in 1919 at the Bagh-i-Bala palace overlooking Kabul, and consisted of manuscripts, miniatures, weapons and art objects belonging to the former royal families. A few years later the collection was moved to the king's palace in the center of the city and in 1931 it was officially installed in the present building, which had served as the Municipality. The original collection was dramatically enriched, beginning in 1922, by the first excavations of the Delegation Archeologique Francaise en Afghanistan (DAFA). Through the years other archaeological delegations have added their finds to the museum until today the collection spans fifty millenniums Prehistoric, Classical, Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic and stands as one of the greatest testimonies of antiquity that the world has inherited.(20120402)
The National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul was severely damaged and much of its collections looted during the civil war of the 1990s, with other treasures hidden away for safekeeping. In 2001, many Buddhist statues in the museum were deliberately smashed to pieces by the Taliban. A program of rebuilding and restoration of the museum took place from 2003 to 2006. In 2012, the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago was awarded a $2.8 million grant from the US Embassy in Kabul to work directly with the National Museum of Afghanistan staff to record and preserve the collection as an important cultural resource for the country’s future. The new database provides the staff of the National Museum with the ability to more effectively manage the collection and prioritize future research, preservation, and display. Collaboration between National Museum of Afghanistan staff and international project staff is ongoing to help preserve and document this collection through database registration, photography, and conservation assessment. Conservation assessment, object rehousing, and training is enabling the continued management and preservation of the museum’s collections.