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‘Authorities installing surveillance cameras at museums to protect artefacts’

By Suzanna Goussous - Jan 16,2017 - Last updated at Jan 16,2017

Tourists visit the Jordan Museum in Amman recently (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — The Department of Antiquities (DoA) is currently installing security cameras in museums as part of efforts to safeguard ancient artefacts and statues, Samia Khouri, director of museums and public awareness at the DoA, said on Monday. 

The decision was taken after several pieces from the Jordan Archaeological Museum were stolen in 2015, according to Khouri, who said the initiative was launched in 2016 with the aim of monitoring and reducing violations in museums across Jordan.

The Jordan Archaeological Museum, located in Amman’s Jabal Al Qalaa, was founded in 1952 and houses pieces from the Stone Age to the Islamic or Middle Ages, according to the official.

She said the department has implemented the project at the Jordan Archaeological Museum, the warehouse of antiquities in the Tabarbour area, the “Dar Al Saraya Museum” in Irbid and the “Lowest Point on Earth” Museum in Ghor Al Safi.

Khouri said the department will float a tender during the first half of 2017 to install cameras in museums across the Kingdom.

“This initiative will boost security measures inside and around museums, especially those in the capital which were first affected by violations,” she told The Jordan Times.

“The security cameras are important to monitor and stop people from destroying the pieces.” 

More public lectures and workshops should be held about the dangers of destroying pieces at museums or tourist sites, she said, explaining that they would raise people’s awareness of the historic importance of museums and Jordan’s heritage. 

“It is about promoting the culture of knowing and understanding the value of those remains which tell the stories of Jordan’s history and heritage. All religions and beliefs forbid destruction,” Khouri added.

Those caught on cameras destroying pieces or attempting to steal or write on them will be referred to authorities in the same area and legal measures will be taken, she stressed.

 

There are 12 museums in Jordan, according to Khouri, two of which are closed for maintenance purposes — one in Karak and the other in Aqaba. Other museums are located in Jerash, Irbid, Madaba, Salt, Amman, Ajloun, Um Qais and the Jordan Valley. 

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