Building capacity in museum storage reorganization.
From 2007-2011, a team of 15 museum professionals from five continents developed a series of self-teaching didactic tools as a result of a partnership between ICCROM and UNESCO on Preventive Conservation of Endangered Museum Collections in Developing Countries. These materials are now available online on the RE-ORG platform.
The RE-ORG tools and guidance are intended for smaller museums (under 10,000 objects) who do not have access to outside expertise and whose collections in storage are at risk due to incomplete documentation systems and growing problems related to overcrowding and difficulties in access.
According to an ICCROM-UNESCO survey (2010-2011), 60% of the collections of respondents worldwide are at threat because of poor inventories and storage conditions.
National and regional training initiatives
In 2013, at the request of its General Assembly, ICCROM launched a wide-scale call for project proposals. All Member States were contacted to solicit their interest in developing national or regional capacity building projects focusing on storage reorganization. Although ICCROM could not commit financial support for this initiative, letters of interest and project proposals arrived from 44 countries.
In 2014-2015, it was possible to concretize three project-based training activities. Each activity has a distance-mentoring component to follow practical implementation in the various participating museums:
- RE-ORG: Maghreb is being organized by the ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre, in collaboration with relevant authorities in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Participating institutions are from those three countries.
- RE-ORG: Canada is organized by the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI). The first edition of this course will be held in the province of Ontario in collaboration with the Ontario Museums Association (OMA). Participating institutions are from various different areas throughout Ontario.
- RE-ORG: South East Europe (SEE) is being organized by the Central Institute for Conservation (CIK) in Belgrade. This course will be held in Belgrade in collaboration with the Regional Alliance for South East Europe – ICOM SEE. The project will also benefit from the support of the Annenberg Foundation as well as the Ministry of Culture (Serbia). This is the first time that the Annenberg Foundation will have worked with ICCROM. ICCROM thanks all of these financial partners for their support. Participating institutions are from Serbia, Slovenia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Further projects are being studied for other regions for 2015-2016.
Also worthy of mention is the generous contribution of institutions such as the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (Spain), which offers regular contributions to the the Re-ORG teaching initiatives in the form of staff time.
Online training platform
In June 2014, ICCROM, CCI and CIK formed a partnership to strengthen further the results of their respective projects in the Maghreb, Canada and South East Europe. These three organizations are developing a shared training platform to support distance learning and mentoring, and to facilitate the collaborative design, development and assessment of teaching and learning resources.
The learning platform is currently reserved for the participants of the training activities, but will be made available to a wider audience in 2016. It will include a series of new and improved resources to support storage reorganization projects.
Training of trainers
In order to develop national and regional training initiatives, it is a priority to create a critical mass of heritage professionals who can teach and adapt the methodology to the various contexts and guide museums in making the changes to their collections storage. A pilot workshop was organized in Belgrade on the occasion of the preparation and design of the SEE RE-ORG project.