In 2003, Marine Colonel Matthew Bogdanos led a mission recovering antiquities looted from the National Museum of Iraq. On March 31, at Bridgeport's Discovery Museum, he talks about his book, "Thieves of Baghdad," which describes how he and his team managed to restore more than half of the museum's approximately 14,000 stolen treasures.

A Marine reserve, Bogdanos decided to return to active duty after 9/11. Before this, he worked in the Manhattan District Attorney's office, essential experience, it seems, for this important mission tracking down some of the world's most significant Mesopotamian art.  As Bogdanos told Time Magazine in 2009, some of the museum's artifacts included, "The Vase of Warka, the first naturalist depiction of human life in stone; The Mask of Warka, the first naturalist depiction of the human face; The Bassetki statue, the first known lost-wax method of copper casting. On and on and on. Every step you take in the Iraq museum, you get to say 'the first.' If there were truly a cradle of civilization, you can't get closer to it than the Iraq museum."

In addition, the treasures were an important symbol of the war-torn country's heritage and, as Bogdanos found out, were also funding terrorist activities. He told Time, "An ugly truth is that antiquities trafficking in Iraq is funding the insurgency and has since at least 2004."

For his efforts, which combined considerable high level detective work with delicate diplomacy, Bogdanos received the U. S. National Humanities Medal in 2005. On March 31, hear him tell his fascinating story of the years he spent "attempting to return to Iraqis their priceless cultural heritage." Tickets are $50 and include a copy of his book, "Thieves of Baghdad," a post presentation discussion, book signing and wine reception with hors d’hoeuvres. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit the museum's website.