Street Smart Chicago

411 Seven Days in Chicago: Saved Treasure

Events, Hyde Park, Museums Add comments

When Dr. Donny George, former director of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, stops by the Oriental Institute Museum in a few weeks, he’ll probably try to tell you the real story is the artifacts themselves, the archeological treasures from the cradle of civilization. But George has a helluva story, too. The acclaimed archeologist witnessed firsthand the looting of the priceless antiquities inside the Iraq Museum when the U.S. forces invaded in 2003. “It was worse than we expected because whole premises were under attack,” he says. “They were taking everything: furniture, computers, printers, fax machines.” Things turned worse for George in 2006, when he heard from close friends that high-ranking officials wanted him out because he was a self-professed Christian, forcing him and his family to flee to Syria. “I am sure I would have been assassinated had I not left,” he says. George will lead tours of the Oriental Institute  on Sunday, January 6, at 1:30pm and 2:30pm.

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