|National Museum of Iran at a glance||
National Museum of Iran, aging more than 70 years, containing 300,000 museum objects in an area more than 20,000 square meters, is not only the largest museum of History and Archaeology of the country, but ranks as one of the few most prestigious museums of the world in regard to grand volume, diversity and quality of its huge monuments. In the Iranian museum tradition it is considered Iran’s mother museum, aiming at preserving relics of the past to hand down to the next generations, enhancing better understanding among world peoples and nations, discovering and showing Iranian’s roles in shaping world culture and civilization and trying to enhance public knowledge. The following is a brief introduction to various departments of the museum:
This department started its work in 1917, when the museum was inaugurated. This department’s treasury contains more than 10,000 artifacts, well representing developments of prehistoric Iranian cultures from the seventh to the first millennium B.C.; unearthed at sites and places like: Tepeh Sarab, Ali Kosh, Talle Bakun, Cheshmeh Ali, Isma’il Abad, Susa, Hassanlu, Marlik and several other places. A great number of relics preserved here were unearthed in archeological excavations. Alongside these collections there are other objects purchased from people or donated to the museum. One of the most important donations is the Forughi collection, which entered the Museum in 1359.
Historic and Loristan Collection
This department also started its work in 1937, when the museum was inaugurated. More than 9,000 artifacts comprise this department’s holdings. A great number of artifacts preserved here were unearthed in archeological excavations. Some were donated, discovered accidentally, or confiscated by law enforcing authorities and trusted with this or other museum departments.
The main activities of this department concentrate on: creating conditions favorable to preservation and conservation of artifacts, study and research, introducing artifacts and publishing: books, articles, bulletins, catalogs, brochures; preparing scientific records (careful description of artifacts, taking phonographs and compiling bibliographies), helping newly founded museums by providing needed artifacts, completing museum collections, particularly local museums all over Iran, providing researchers with needed information, counseling students in their research work and last but not the least, holding exhibitions, both at home and abroad.
National Museum of Iran, like most world class museums, has a department specifically dedicated to conserving and preserving invaluable Iranian coins and seals; and regarding the unique role played by these artifacts in historic studies of every country’s civilization, this department is of prime importance. Most artifacts preserved here were discovered in archaeological excavations, in addition to some confiscated, donated objects or accidental findings. In ancient times, before invention and circulation of coins, people traded their goods and secured their needs using barter system, using quadrupeds as exchange unit. In some ancient paintings and reliefs barter scenes are depicted. After discovery of metals man further developed his civilization and used objects made of copper, bronze, gold and silver in the form of rings, bars, square or round pieces, or as knife and axe as means of barter trading.
Before inventing the writing, human took action to make a tool to indicate his ownership on his own properties, due to unobvious political and economical situations.
Therefore, the seal was made of different materials such as Marble, ivory, gold, silver, capper, etc. The images on the seals were curved negatively and after, sealing them on the other materials like mud, chalk, paper, etc are appeared positively. The curved images on the seals, in addition to its artificial aspects, include important documents of existing industries, careers and various activities belong to ancient times, as well as the appearance of seals led to a new step in trading relations. Sealing on various types of goods, dishes, jugs, barrels, in addition to ownership, means the signature of the owner of the goods. The oldest seals are kept in National Museum of Iran, which have been discovered by Susa drillings and belong to 6000 years ago.
With the spread of Islamic civilization which rested on Islamic philosophy and divine teachings of Quran, time was ripe for formation of Islamic Art taking shape from socio-political and economic conditions in Muslim lands.
Striking similarities between patterns of Islamic and Pre-Islamic periods well attest to the new life of the predecessors’ arts in new environments, though full grasping some beauties of the Islamic art with their occult and symbolic meanings necessitates acquaintance with Islamic world view. The advent of Islam in Iran, like other lands formed a new rich Muslim art and culture, based on predecessors’ arts, particularly the Sassanid Empire. Thus we are witnessing the huge collection of Islamic art in National Museum of Iran. Since foundation of the museum by André Godard the fourth floor was dedicated to the Islamic Period.
Now the Islamic Department houses more than 10,000 Islamic monuments and is one of the most important research centers on Islamic Art, seriously engaged in collaborative projects with academic and educational centers both at home and abroad, constantly providing expert advice and counseling services to interested students and researchers in various fields of the Islamic Arts. Furthermore individual and collaborative measures are taken to better introduce the artifacts in exhibitions regularly held at national and international levels.
Since the early years of establishing Ancient Iran Museum (National Museum of Iran), renovation of historical works had been done according to the requirements.
Today, there are many objects renovated by the artists existing on the museum shelves of which some have been registered as a museum object bearing an explanation: having deduction renovation, etc. In particular cases, a small part of a renovated unique pottery dish is presented as a registered pottery object. Therefore, a renovator plays an important role in identifying a part of discovered ancient work.
A full field study will explain the history of these renovated museum works in Iran. The Renovation Department of National Museum of Iran, along with other principle departments, was established in 1984. Although limited facilities in the early years, aiming at renovation with a mixture of science and art, the majority of pottery and glass works of the various departments of the museum have been renovated of which most are exhibited in Islamic Era Museum and Ancient Iran Museum. Since 1996, to meet the particular requirements for renovation in various departments of Museum, the Renovation Department has taken measures to achieve comprehensive and fundamental ways for a scientific and longtime keeping and maintenance of these precious works according to their specifications as well as enrichment.
At present, various works kept in National Museum of Iran including pottery, glass, metal, paper, textile and stone remnants are renovated and maintained. Moreover, this department has continually joint activities with archeological research center in the maintenance and renovation of archeological findings in the scientific researches.
Inscription Department of National Museum of Iran was established in August 1998, aiming at gathering, maintenance and renovation, issuing identity certificate, duplicating and reading the scripts which had not been red yet. The majority of the discovered brick and clay inscriptions in Susa and Takht-e-Jamshid (Persepolis) and also clay inscriptions of Persepolis treasury and ramparts are kept in this department, to which preliminary identity certificate have been issued and some have been read and are printable.
Photography department of National Museum of Iran, as other departments of the Museum, started its activities since the early years of the establishment of Museum. In this regard, photograph and picture is registering documents of all the remnants and artworks which are considered as the identity of culture, civilization and art of Iran.
In National Museum of Iran, to supply an identity certificate for any object, first its picture is taken which indicates the size, form, total volume, texture of the object, therefore, it requires to take a technical and accurate photography of the considered object. The photographers, who have done services in National Museum of Iran, try their best to take picture of the object in a particular style regarding their sensitivities and specifications in order to meet the researchers’ needs. Transmitting data by pictures is one of the various activities of this Department in Iran, societies and institutes located at other countries. Joining the registration in fairs, seminars, lectures, etc to present history and culture of Iran is another activity of this department.
Library and Documentation Center
The execution of building of Ancient Iran Museum was started in 1927, in where a place was determined as archeology Library.
After inaugurating the museum in 1937, the Library and Documentation Center was established aiming at meeting research requirements of the personnel of the museum and Archeological Office through preparing 1000 Persian and Latin books which were borrowed form Maaref Library.
At present, over 18 thousands books and publications in various languages are available in this library as well as is the great historical, artistic and archeological specialized library in Iran as well as the neighbor countries, where is highly worldwide esteemed. In addition to relation and cooperation with local scientific and research institutes, this library is corresponded with the similar foreign institutes including transmitting information, books and publications. It is not only meets the research requirements of the personnel of Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran but also every day welcomes the majority of researches, students and who are interested to archeology and history.
Public & International Relations
This section was established in 2001 as an independent department in National Museum of Iran to offer updated information about scientific and research activities of museum in the press and other publications, coordinating local and foreign exhibitions and cooperation with researchers and foreign Iranologists.
Due to development of foreign fairs, international relations activities were included to public relations duties.
(Source: National Museum of Iran)
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