The current redevelopment and expansion of the Ulster Museum in Belfast (with notable holdings of Irish furniture, porcelain, silver, and glass), which anticipates reopening in late October; and, even more so, the February 2009 reopening of the Iraq National Museum, with a large portion of the objects reclaimed after its recent looting, poignantly speak to the importance of such cultural institutions and the objects they display.
Ulster Museum, Belfast · scheduled to open late October · www.ulstermuseum.org.uk
Iraq National Museum, Bagdad · www.theiraqmuseum.org
Images from above: Panorama of Saint Petersburg by Charles Claude Bachelier, c. 1850. Hermitage Amsterdam; New Acropolis Museum, Athens, designed by Bernard Tschumi in collaboration with Michalis Photiadis. Photograph by Nikos Daniilidis; West facade of the Neues Museum, Berlin, as recently rebuilt by David Chipperfield in collaboration with Julian Harrap. © Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz/David Chipperfield Architects, photograph by Ute Zscharnt; Oval writing box and cover, Jiangxi Province, 1426-1435. British Museum, Percival David Collection; Reliquary casket of Saint Thomas Becket, Limoges, France, c. 1180-1190. Victoria and Albert Museum. © V and A Images; Interior of the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, as recently restored. Photograph by courtesy of the Pitt Rivers Museum; View in the Schwarzenberg Palace, Prague; Interior of the Palazzo Grimani, Venice.