People, Travel

Iran Private Museums Booming

Forty museums have been set up after the 2015 nuclear deal.
Forty museums have been set up after the 2015 nuclear deal.

The number of private museums in Iran has reached 83, an official at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization said.

Speaking at a ceremony in Tehran on Thursday to commemorate World Museums Day, Mohammad Reza Kargar, ICHHTO’s director for museum affairs, said 50 privately-owned museums have been set up since President Hassan Rouhani took office in 2013, IRNA reported.

“What’s more, 40 of those were established after the signing of the nuclear deal,” he said.

The nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was signed in July 2015 by Iran and the six major world powers, which obliged Tehran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.

“The deal created confidence in investors, which led to the establishment of dozens of private museums,” Kargar said.

Prior to Rouhani’s administration, there were only 33 privately-owned museums in Iran.

Underlining the current government’s policies on facilitating privatization, Kargar said supporting the private sector’s involvement in museum affairs is one of the organization’s priorities.

Private museums can meet part of their expenses by selling tickets and organizing training courses, holding exhibitions and sales of handicrafts.

In line with the government’s policies, various financial facilities are provided to those interested in setting a museum.

“Owners can apply for loans to equip their establishment,” Kargar said, adding that the measure aims to “strengthen the role of museums”.

Kargar called for ministers, NGOs, private institutes and even the public to join the effort and “help revive and preserve history and heritage by establishing museums”.

Cultural heritage officials say Iran’s history, culture, arts and sciences are so rich that they cannot be comprehensively covered by a single entity alone.  

The provinces of Tehran and Isfahan have the highest number of private museums but other provinces are also catching up.

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