The palaces were often built with the cooperation of foreign engineers, and hardened against both ground and air attack. Thus, the palaces weathered mortar attacks and crude technological 'improvements' remarkably well. The one in Basra suffered damage when the British abandoned it to Shiite militias in 2007; but as the photographs in the article suggest, there is only so much damage that the militias could do to the buildings without heavy machinery.
Now the palace in Basra has been transformed into an antiquities museum, and the people of Basra will be able to see the inside of the palace which Saddam never actually bothered to visit. The leader of the refurbishment, Mahdi Aloosawi, states that the palace was built not with bricks, but with the blood of the people.
The new museum has been curated by its new director, Qahtan al-Obaid; the last director was shot dead in 1991. The British Museum is helping to curate the exhibits. The British have a tradition of alternately developing and conquering Basra that stretches back to the First World War.
The museum is cooperating with the British Council to further develop the space, potentially opening additional rooms for theater and visual arts. The Friends of Basrah Museum is a registered UK charity dedicated to assisting in the project.