Iraqi antique collector turns his house into a museum

The 80-year-old hopes the state will take over the collection when he is gone.
Tuesday 26/02/2019
Youssef Akkar, 80, an Iraqi retired teacher displays rare antiques and weapons in his museum at home in Najaf, in February. (Reuters)
Youssef Akkar, 80, an Iraqi retired teacher displays rare antiques and weapons in his museum at home in Najaf, in February. (Reuters)

NAJAF, Iraq – There is more than a century of Iraqi history in Sheikh Yousif Akkar’s house, a modest home in the holy city of Najaf which the retired teacher has crammed full of local antiques collected over 50 years.

Rifles dating back to when the city was run by the Ottomans or the British sit alongside drinking vessels, coins and historic photographs.

The small museum has attracted a few curious antique lovers, but he rarely advertises for visitors as his house is too small to receive guests.

The 80-year-old hopes the state will take over the collection when he is gone.

“At the end of my life, I wish they would allocate to a place for me to keep these antiquities … for Najaf, for Iraq” he said. 

(Reuters)

Youssef Akkar, 80, an Iraqi retired teacher displays rare antiques and weapons in his museum at home in Najaf, in February. (Reuters)
Youssef Akkar, 80, an Iraqi retired teacher displays rare antiques and weapons in his museum at home in Najaf, in February. (Reuters)
Youssef Akkar, 80, an Iraqi retired teacher displays rare antiques and weapons in his museum at home in Najaf, in February. (Reuters)
Old rare antiques and weapons in the museum of Youssef Akkar, 80, an Iraqi retired teacher, at his home in Najaf, in February. (Reuters)
Old rare antiques and weapons in the museum of Youssef Akkar, 80, an Iraqi retired teacher, at his home in Najaf, in February. (Reuters)