Packing and Storing Objects and Collections – Tradition and Modernity

November 13, 2017

Collasia Korea

Collasia KoreaThe National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage (NRICH) of Korea hosted the international ICCROM CollAsia course on Packing and Storing Objects and Collections – Tradition and Modernity in Daejeon, Republic of Korea, from 11 – 25 October 2017. The course, one outcome of a five-year agreement (2012-2017) between the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) and ICCROM, involved 24 professionals from 16 countries with different backgrounds in heritage conservation.
The challenge of packing and storing movable collections was the focus of the two-week course. The objective was to develop a shared understanding by identifying core functions in order to make effective choices of methods and materials. Interactive learning modalities, which have become a distinctive feature of the CollAsia programme, were used throughout. A didactic collection of diverse objects, together with different packing and storing materials, provided concrete learning opportunities and a basis for small-group exercises. Participants were challenged to discuss strengths and weaknesses of different packing and storing materials, techniques and procedures, in relation to different scenarios.

Lectures by the teaching team introduced ways to identify risks related to packing and storing, suitable materials to respond to those risks, and how to take effective and sustainable decisions for the preservation and use of collections. Participants explored changes in cultural values and material properties, recognizing the vulnerabilities of heritage objects to different situations. Exercises were developed to underline the principles behind the topics discussed. These broad issues could vary from the impacts of the environment on collection management to the importance of documentation for tracking objects in different circumstances. The participants were challenged to think systemically, in order to understand changes in both material properties and values, both in objects and in the enclosures around them. Packing and storing were always considered as responses to specific institutional functions.

Collasia KoreaStudy visits and demonstrations helped to build bridges between tangible and intangible heritage and to stress the connection between movable and immovable heritage. The use of traditional paulownia boxes in both Korea and Japan and the packing of ‘ham’, the traditional Korean wedding box, showed the complex relation between objects and containers. This relation was also considered on a bigger scale via study visits to traditional Korean houses at the Youheodang village, and to the National Palace Museum and the National University of Cultural Heritage (NUCH) in Seoul.

The classroom sessions alternated small-group exercises with plenary discussions and case studies in order to provide examples of both day-to-day work and applied research. Further examples were provided by the pictures and presentations that the participants brought from their own institutions. The incredible variety of challenges and possible solutions presented showed the benefits of locally available traditional materials and techniques, when these are applied to respond to specific functions and not to fixed ‘recipes’.

The participants were encouraged to build knowledge together through a series of sessions dedicated to formulating collaborative research proposals. The aim was to stress the importance of arriving at clear and precise research questions in order to respond to specific challenges related to packing and storing. Such research collaboration can help to build long-term perspectives for the collections and the people working with them.  This approach, which constituted the ‘red thread’ running through the entire course, can help in expanding professional perspectives and skills in a concrete way. Professionals are challenged to develop their critical thinking skills in order to identify questions, problems and effective responses, and to learn how to communicate them. The unique opportunity to share interactive learning experiences with colleagues from different countries and different backgrounds, a standard feature of CollAsia courses, increases the learning potentialities and opens windows for further collaborative projects.

Collasia KoreaCollAsia is an important activity of ICCROM. It is an educational program aiming to improve conditions for the conservation of movable heritage collections in Southeast Asian countries. CollAsia focuses on continuous professional development activities (CPD).

CollAsia was developed at the request of Member States of ICCROM. In 2003, ICCROM and the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts, widely known as SEAMEO-SPAFA, launched the CollAsia program to improve conservation conditions for Southeast Asian collections. The program had the financial support of the Getty Foundation. Since 2012, CollAsia has continued thanks to the generous support of the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration, which provides ICCROM with the core founding for ongoing CollAsia activities.

Member States represented: Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, United Kingdom and Vietnam.

Non-Member State: Timor-Leste

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RE-ORG Croatia

November 9, 2017

Re-org CroatiaOn 6 November the Director of the Ethnographic Museum in Zagreb, Dr Goranka Horjan, welcomed 26 museum professionals for a two-week RE-ORG workshop in the National Museum’s storage areas. The participants, 21 from Croatian museums and 5 from Slovenian museums, are reorganizing 24 storage rooms of the National Museum over ten working days.

After agreeing on a common objective, the participants identified three main steps: creating a temporary localization system, freeing the storage corridors and furniture from non-collection objects, and regrouping collections dispersed in various rooms or on different floors. To achieve their goals, the participants are being followed by a teaching team involving RE-ORG mentors from Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia.

This activity follows the July launch of the Croatian National RE-ORG Project, a three-day “Training of Trainers” workshop given to five Croatian professionals. On this occasion, Gaël de Guichen gave a public lecture on the RE-ORG programme attended by 76 colleagues including representatives from the Ministry of Culture and the City of Zagreb. Continue reading…


LATAM in Argentina: Contemporary Art, Sounds and Images Conservation

November 8, 2017

LATAM in Argentina: Contemporary Art, Sounds and Images Conservation

LATAM in Argentina: Contemporary Art, Sounds and Images ConservationIn August and September 2017, meetings took place in Argentina related to the preservation of contemporary art and to sound and image conservation.  These activities support both the regional LATAM initiative for conservation of heritage in Latin America and the SOIMA programme for Sound and Image Collections Conservation promoted by ICCROM.

A pilot needs assessment survey for conservation management of contemporary art collections

Over 2017, ICCROM together the Dirección Nacional de Bienes y Sitios Culturales (DNBSC), Ministry of Culture, Argentina developed and carried out a pilot survey of museums with contemporary art collections and their umbrella institutions in Argentina on national, provincial and local levels. The results highlights the key issues museums meet with this kind of collections, including their quick growth (collections double in 30 years), the intense loaning and lending activities that affect 80% of the museums, and common challenges including overcrowded storage, conservation of new materials, and legislation and policy needs. The results of the pilot survey will be used to extend the data collection to other countries in the region, in the goal of organizing a training initiative in 2018-2019. Continue reading…


Signing of CHA Korea-ICCROM Framework Arrangement

November 3, 2017

Signing of CHA Korea-ICCROM Framework ArrangementOn 25 October 2017, the Cultural Heritage Administration of the Republic of Korea (CHA) and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) signed a Framework Arrangement in Daejeon, Republic of Korea.  This marks the second phase of the collaboration embarked upon in 2012. Under this Framework Arrangement, the two institutions agreed to pursue cooperation for education, training and research in cultural heritage conservation in the Asia Pacific region during the period of 2018-2022. The arrangement was signed by the CHA Administrator, Kim Jongjin, and by ICCROM’s Director-General, Dr Stefano De Caro.

The signing of the arrangement was the occasion for a joint public conference reflecting on the activities of the past five years and identifying future areas of cooperation. The 2017 CollAsia course was concluded during this event, while the final Annual Thematic Forum was opened on the topic of “Conservation of Asian Heritage.”

For the past five years, from 2013 to 2017, CHA has supported training activities in line with the CollAsia programme previously implemented by ICCROM, together with an annual Thematic Forum on selected topics of common interest. While focusing on Asia in particular and contributing to the regional capacity-building processes, the programme has also proved beneficial on a global scale, with professionals from around the world working to understand key conservation concepts in an Asian context. Continue reading…


Voices of Culture Structured Dialogue: Skills, Training and Knowledge Transfer

October 30, 2017

Voices of Culture Structured Dialogue: Skills, Training and Knowledge TransferICCROM has participated in the Voices of Culture structured dialogue opened by the European Commission with selected stakeholders on the topic “Skills, Training and Knowledge Transfer: traditional and emerging heritage.”

While European expertise in heritage preservation and conservation is famed worldwide, the combined effects of the age pyramid and cuts in public budgets are affecting the transmission of knowledge and skills to the younger generations, weakening the sector’s potential to thrive into the future.  At the same time, the skill set needed to care for and manage heritage is constantly broadening as well as deepening due to new technologies, economic and social pressures, innovations in work methods, and developments in both the definition and scope of heritage.

Policy attention is thus recommended on a sector-wide, macro-planning level in order to maintain the vigorous role that culture and heritage have historically played in the cultural, social and economic life of Europe.  As well, culture and heritage should be positioned dynamically as drivers for future development.  Culture can thereby support job creation, social inclusion, and cultural diversity along with the requalification of urban and rural at-risk zones. Continue reading…


First Aid for Cultural Heritage Design Workshop

October 20, 2017

Designing for Change: International Workshop on First Aid for Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis

16-20th October 2017

 logos - First Aid for Cultural Heritage Design Workshop

FAC_thumbOn 16-20 October, ICCROM hosted a design workshop on First Aid for Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis (FAC), organized in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution, USA and the Prince Claus Fund, the Netherlands. Other partner institutions participating include UNESCO, CRAterre (France), Italian Civil Protection, and Ritsumeikan University (Japan).

The design workshop aimed to review the existing First Aid international training, and identify content as well as activities for developing a self sustainable and effective network of cultural first aiders. Using the human centred design approach, the workshop drew on the diverse experiences of former participants, practitioners, and key resource people to:

  1. refine the topics and modes of delivery of the existing First Aid training,
  2. identify contents and teaching strategies for training of trainers,
  3. agree on activities and institutional pre-arrangements for developing a sustainable and functional network of cultural first aiders over the next three years.

Continue reading…


UNESCO and ICCROM Join Forces to Protect Cultural Heritage

October 16, 2017

UNESCO and ICCROM Join ForcesThe United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) signed a landmark agreement on Friday 13 October in a new effort to address mounting threats to cultural properties worldwide.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters, the two agencies agreed to intensify efforts to implement the 1972 World Heritage Convention. They will also boost cooperation in addressing a number of specific challenges, including destruction of cultural property in armed conflict, disaster risk management, illicit trafficking in heritage objects and new risks to intangible cultural heritage. Continue reading…


ICCROM attends G7 Roma-Lyon Group meeting

October 13, 2017

Fabrizio Parrulli The second G7 Roma-Lyon Group meeting was held in Rome from 3 to 5 October.  This work group, created under the 2001 G8 Italian Presidency, is run by the law enforcement sector and is devoted to formulating counter-terrorism strategies and combating transnational crimes.

Brigadier General Fabrizio Parrulli, Commander of the Carabinieri Headquarters for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage (TPC), opened the proceedings.

ICCROM participated in the first day’s Expert Group Meeting: “Cultural Heritage, the Mirror of Identity” on cataloguing, collecting and sharing data for the protection of cultural heritage and the art market.

Delegates from the G7 countries and experts from international organizations attending the meeting called for maximum co-operation to end the illicit trafficking of antiquities from Syria, Iraq and beyond.

On the occasion of this meeting, ICCROM’s Director-General, Dr Stefano De Caro, observed, “This important event reaffirms the engagement of the G7 nations in the protection and restoration of cultural heritage endangered by conflicts and natural disasters.  ICCROM welcomes and supports all such international collaboration efforts in favour of protection for cultural heritage and for those charged with stewarding it.” Continue reading…


RE-ORG Nigeria: project implementation across the country

September 26, 2017

RE-ORG Nigeria: project implementation across the countryThe first RE-ORG workshop ever held in Africa took place at the Jos National Museum, Nigeria in May 2017. After its conclusion, participants from 12 museums from every corner of Nigeria went back to their institutions to revise and implement their reorganization plans, using the RE-ORG methodology to tackle problems of overcrowding of objects and poor storage conditions.

By the end of August 2017, all 12 museums had submitted their own “Home Projects.” These were eligible for grants up to $1,500 to provide equipment and material to leverage their modest institutional resources and to complement the knowledge, skills and innovating spirit of their staff. The Re-Org Nigeria project teams include personnel from the documentation, curatorial and administrative areas, along with electricians, carpenters, and security guards. Continue reading…


Japanese Paper Course Closes

September 20, 2017

International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper, 28 August to 15 September 2017

Japanese Paper Course Closes - Logos

Japanese Paper Course ClosesThe 2017 edition of the JPC-Japanese Paper Conservation course closed in Tokyo on 15 September. This highly specialized three-week event was held from 28 August to 15 September 2017.

The course aims to offer a holistic knowledge and experience of Japanese paper and Japanese traditional conservation approaches and techniques to ten conservation professionals coming from a range of Member States.

A mix of lectures, demonstrations and practical sessions presented an insight into the techniques of the Japanese paper-mounting tradition, along with materials such as Japanese paper, adhesives including wheat starch paste, and the principles guiding the care of such collections in Japan. The practical sessions were conducted by instructors from a certified group holding the Selected Conservation Techniques on “Restoration Techniques of Mounting.” Continue reading…