You Can Help Virtually Restore the Mosul Museum


Steven Zucker via Flickr // CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In February, a gang of ISIS fighters destroyed a number of irreplaceable, ancient artifacts during their sack of the Mosul Museum in Iraq. It's hardly the worst atrocity committed by the group, and many of the artifacts typically housed in the museum had already been relocated to Baghdad for safekeeping—but still, this act of cultural terrorism has erased parts of a cultural legacy over 3000 years old. Now, a volunteer effort is hoping to re-draw some of that history through digital means.

Project Mosul is gathering crowd-sourced photos of the destroyed artifacts in an effort to create digital 3D images of them. The 17 fellows working on the Project are part of the Initial Training Network for Digital Cultural Heritage, a Marie Curie Actions program funded by the European Commission. They are hoping to create a "virtual museum" based on photos submitted by anyone who has visited Mosul.

Matthew Vincent, one of the fellows on the Project, explained to Tech Crunch, "The limitations of photogrammetry mean we cannot guarantee the fidelity of the models to the originals, but the visual representations should be enough to give the public access to lost heritage. Furthermore, the 3D models could potentially help to restore any of the originals, even lacking the geometric fidelity."

Since the museum has been effectively closed since 2003, tourist images are hard to come by, but the Project implores anyone who does have photos of lost artifacts to upload them to the site. Check out this example of one such partially reconstructed artifact they've already started work on:

The Lion of Mosul
by neshmi
on Sketchfab