LBNMF Activities over the years




The main activity during this time was to help refurbish, restore and renew the Beirut National Museum after being closed to the public for 20 years. The Lebanese British Friends of the National Museum association:

-Helped salvage the DGA's library (17,000 books found lying in rubble) and facilitated a donation of the necessary quantity of wood to reconstruct the Library’s storage shelves.

-Helped organize Uprooted Heritage, the first post-war exhibition to be held at the National Museum

- Raised funds to provide the necessary space and equipment for the refurbishing of the DGA's Conservation Laboratory.

- Published in 1995 the first issue of the post-war archaeological journal National Museum News. This would later become Archaeology and History in the Lebanon,  which is still being published to date.

-Helped organize various seminars and symposia such as:

- Organized the Downtown Beirut and its Archaeological Excavations seminar and symposium in London which was held at the British Museum. Speakers included Camille Asmar, the then Director General of Antiquities and Philippe Marquis of UNESCO. Seminar participants included Jean Rankin (Deputy Director, British Museum), Andrew Burnett (Keeper of Coins and Medals), John Curtis (Keeper of the Department of the Near East), Robert Knox (Keeper of Oriental Antiquities), Geoffrey Howse (Head of Press and Public Relations) and Venetia Porter (Coins and Medals).

- Organized the 1996 London Beirut: Uncovering the Past exhibition in 1996 held at the British Museum.

- Organized the 1996 Paris Beyrouth, le temps retrouvé exhibition held at the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris.

- Funded and supplied the design and manufacture of temporary "inert atmosphere" bags for the conservation of five child mummies. These were commissioned in Houston, Texas for the department of Antiquities of Lebanon.

- Commissioned in 1997 the drafting of maps showing the historical progression of urban settlements in the city of Beirut, Lebanon. These were published in the NMN

- Sponsored a locum visit of conservator Tracy Sweek of the Stone Conservation Department at the British Museum to help establish a program of conservation at the Beirut National Museum. This LBFNM venture was made possible by the participation of the British Council, which provided travel funds and of the British Museum offered her services free of charge.

- Organized in 1997 in conjunction with the British Council, a visit to the Beirut National Museum of Dr. John Curtis, British Museum Keeper of the Department of the Ancient Near East.

- Organized in 1997 the screening of an LBFNM-produced film showing the recovery, at the British Museum, of  damaged artefacts from the Beirut National Museum.

- Published a highly reviewed (see Archaeology Odyssey, March/April 2000) post-war catalogue of the Beirut National Museum’s artefacts called Stones and Creed (English version) and Pierres et Croyances (French version).



After the re-opening to the public of the Beirut National Museum, the LBFNM shifted its focus toward helping research projects, disseminating on-going archaeological exploration through publications and the organization of symposia centred around the cultural heritage of Lebanon. Thus the continuing publication of the journal Archaeology and History in the Lebanon as well as the production and editing of several books and special edition journals including for example, the 2004 A Decade of Archaeology and History in Lebanon (see books)

The association generated financial help to cover the cost of 14C analyses on archaeological material from the Sidon British Museum excavation and contributed to the funding of the coring program around Sidon's Harbour (also part of the British Museum excavation in Sidon). In addition, it helped fund the Sidon 5000 Years film shown at the British Museum and at specially organized venues in Lebanon.

In 2008, according to a consensual proposal instigated by Professor Vassos Karageorghis, it was decided that a symposium on Eastern Mediterranean archaeology would be held in Beirut every four years. Thus, a joint Lebanese and international committee was established to organize it (see symposia). The aim of the symposia was to inaugurate in Lebanon an international forum for Mediterranean archaeology. Interconnections in the Eastern Mediterranean was the theme of the first symposium, Cult and Ritual was the theme of the second and Tyre, Sidon and Byblos, Three global harbours of the Ancient World is the theme of the third, which is due to be held in 2017.