The National Museum of Iraq was established with the help of a different writer, British author Gertrude Bell, in 1926. It was considered a museum that encapsulated the history of all humanity and it was known for its many precious historical treasures representing the 5,000 years of Mesopotamia history. The Baghdad Archaeological Museum was the original name. It contained artifacts related to Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian and Islamic cultures.
The museum was ransacked and looted on April 8, 2003, in the chaotic days of The Iraq War. The staff removed 8,366 artifacts before this occurrence but they estimated that about 15,000 antiquities were stolen over a short period of time. Only a fraction of them have been recovered.
The museum historians said about 5,000 of the missing 15,000 items were cylinder seals. "Many items that had been reported as missing had been hidden in secret storage vaults prior to the outbreak of war. Collection items from the New Museum Building's exhibits remain in storage and will be returned to the Museum only after the renovation of the Galleries and the spaces and cases are ready to accept the collections for the exhibit."
They closed for many years while restoring the museum and reopened in 2015. Unfortunately, many of the stolen items became available for sale. They continue their campaign to locate the missing antiquities.