IRAN DAILY: How many museums are there in Iran? Does ICHHTO manage all of them?
KARGAR: There are 500 museums across the country, of which 240 are run by ICHHTO, 260 by other entities, and 50 are managed jointly by ICHHTO and other entities.
We have local, provincial and private museums.
What are the programs and achievements of ICHHTO in terms of museum management?
ICHHTO has made efforts to finish incomplete museum projects. It has also resumed the completion of 12 regional and provincial museums.
We predict that some of these projects will be completed in the next five years.
Khorasan Museum, which was inaugurated in the year to March 2015, hosts many visitors daily.
Islamic Period Museum and the upper floor of National Museum of Iran will reopen in the next few weeks.
We intend to complete the museums of Khuzestan province and the cities of Tabriz, Kermanshah, Shiraz and Yazd.
If we want to have diverse museums, other entities and organizations should support us.
Does the government have any program to invite other organizations to establish museums?
Following the proposal made by ICHHTO and the government’s acceptance, it was decided that every organization could launch its own specialized museum by the end of the sixth five-year economic development plan (2015-20).
According to assessments, 1,000 museums will be established across the country by 2020.
Some of Iran’s ancient relics plundered by foreigners were recently returned to the country. After their return, provinces from which these relics originated asked ICHHTO to keep them in local and provincial museums.
Are these relics transferred to provincial museums or kept in the National Museum of Iran?
Relics belonging to Khorvin in Alborz province were returned to the country.
The custodians of Alborz museum demanded the return of these relics.
Once the grounds are prepared for keeping ancient relics in regional museums, they will be transferred to them.
Some ancient pieces, which are of national significance, should be preserved according to standards.
In some cases, a large number of relics are kept in museum storerooms and rarely exhibited. Why aren’t they put on public display?
All international museums keep more relics in storerooms than displaying them for public viewing.
Many valuable pieces are kept in storerooms of Iran and only displayed in temporary exhibitions due to shortage of space.
For example, Carpet Museum of Iran was established in 1978. Many precious and ancient carpets were purchased by ICHHTO and donated to these museums. Currently, they are kept in storerooms due to shortage of space.
According to experts, some relics such as carpets of Golestan Palace have been badly damaged in recent years. What have you done to handle this issue?
Unfortunately, due to negligence, relics were not preserved satisfactorily in museums.
Worldwide, historical carpets kept in poor conditions are destroyed by moth and there is no way to repair them.
Fortunately, Iran’s exquisite carpets are very soft and not destroyed by moth. Only parts of them had been torn due to antiquity, which could be repaired.
Which are the most ancient museums in Iran?
The National Museum of Iran and Azarbaijan Museum in Tabriz are considered the oldest museums of Iran.
Did any theft take place in museums in recent years?
The last theft occurred in Kermanshah Museum two years ago. However, with the help of police and ICHHTO, a portion of them were found and returned.
This year’s theme for International Museum Day was “Museums for Sustainable Society”. What was the objective behind this designation?
With the development of technology and cultural transfer between countries, UNESCO is concerned about the obliteration of the rich and pure cultures of nations, which are based on their civilizations.
In order to remind and preserve the culture of each region, UNESCO selected this motto.