Beirut museum dusts off port blast to reopen

STORY: Almost three years after Beirut's port blast, the city's Sursock Museum has reopened its doors to the public.

Its eye-catching stained-glass windows have been restored to their former glory after they were blown out by the blast.

Exhibition halls were covered in debris. Precious artworks were damaged.

The museum is in the heart of Beirut's Ashrafieh neighborhood, one of those most affected by the August 2020 explosion.

Two hundred and fifteen people were killed and swathes of the Lebanese capital destroyed.

On Friday (May 26), the Sursock reopened with five exhibitions. Some explored the museum's journey while others tackled Beirut's history.

This was museum director Karina El Helou.

"Our reopening is a resistance, this one. It is a joyful moment, we are very proud. I am very proud of the teams but I am very as well... I am still, like many, angry at our state and I think that we shouldn’t just celebrate, we should show that this is an act of resistance."

Doors, elevators, and ceilings were repaired too with the help of Italian and French as well as Lebanese funding.

Visitor Randa Farah says passing the closed museum saddened her and its reopening was a glimmer of hope for the Lebanese.

The Sursock Museum first opened in 1961, one of the few in Lebanon dedicated to modern and contemporary art.

Like Beirut itself, the museum is no stranger to difficulties. During the 1975-1990 civil war, its doors closed several times.