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New Exhibit At Penn Museum To Showcase Artifacts From Iraq, Syria

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A new exhibit will soon open at the Penn Museum, and CBS3 gained exclusive, first access to what is inside.

It's called Cultures in the Crossfire, and it showcases more than 50 items from Iraq and Syria.

"These artifacts, these monuments are part of the identity of the people of Syria and Iraq. These make the cultural fabric that makes Syrians and Iraqis who they are right now," explained Lead Curator and Syrian-born archeologist Dr. Salam Al Kuntar.

The purpose of the exhibit is to preserve items from a region under tremendous turmoil. The Syrian civil war is now entering its sixth year. Coupled with ISIS attacks, and many artifacts in that country are being lost forever.

"Many people ask the question:  'Why do we care about artifacts made of stone when the lives of people are being lost or in danger?'" said Al Kuntar.

"It's very important to preserve because a land without its culture it loses its soul," she continued.

The exhibit opens to the public on April 8. Various immigration groups have contacted local Syrian refugees who plan to visit the exhibit.

"It's very important for refugees to like the places they are trying to establish a new life. They have a connection to their homeland and they know that people here at the museum and people in the city of Philadelphia really appreciate these cultures and they know something about it," said Al Kuntar.

The exhibit will run through November 2018, and is included with general museum admission.

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