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Iraq Museum Opens in Former Saddam Hussein Palace

For the first time in decades, a new museum has opened in war-torn Iraq. Its location: a palace that once belonged to Saddam Hussein. 

The former dictator had nearly 100 over-the-top residences scattered throughout the country. This one, the Lakeside Palace, stands in Basra in the south of the country. 

The building is now the home of the Basra Museum, a facility dedicated to preserving and showing off antiquities from Iraq's long and rich history.

Eight years in the making, the museum currently has only one exhibit, which displays artifacts dating back more than 2,000 years, including silver coins, pottery, coffins, and tiles. Three additional galleries will eventually cover the region's Babylonian, Assyrian, Sumerian, and Islamic eras. 

The museum's director, Qahtan al-Obaid, says he chose the location to "replace the themes of dictatorship and tyranny with civilization and humanity."