New user-friendly handbook launched by ICCROM and UNESCO helps save heritage collections in emergencies.
Armed conflicts and natural disasters causing deliberate or collateral damage to cultural heritage are more prominent than ever. To help strengthen efforts to save collections from imminent threats, ICCROM and UNESCO have joined forces to produce Endangered Heritage: Emergency Evacuation of Heritage Collections, a practical handbook available for free download.
Built upon years of experience and real-life situations, this publication offers a field-tested, simple workflow for the emergency evacuation of valuable objects that is easy to replicate in any context.
A multi-purpose guide, it is created with a variety of users in mind, with simple language and layout intended for heritage personnel, emergency responders and civilians alike. It offers guidance on when and how to intervene to protect endangered heritage, its illustrations and charts helping readers to understand quickly and begin working.
In crisis situations already underway, it is a fast and easy read that covers the emergency documentation of collections, safe transport and temporary storage.
For institutions that are either in vulnerable areas or generally seeking to create an emergency plan, this booklet will be a valuable aid in disaster preparedness. It will assist users in prioritizing needs and in planning for realistic action within specific circumstances, using limited resources.
Created within the framework of UNESCO’s Emergency Response Actions and ICCROM’s flagship programme on First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis, this tool has been developed with training and learning at the centre of its focus. It is based on the unique body of knowledge amassed through numerous training activities relating to cultural heritage and actual emergencies that have taken place worldwide.
This is what cultural emergency responders, trainers and heritage professionals have to say about it:
For museum and heritage personnel:
“The easy and adaptable workflow in this handbook makes it an important tool for all cultural heritage institutions. User friendly diagrams make this a truly unique publication as it streamlines the evacuation process while maintaining professional standards”
- Rebecca Kennedy, Preservation Specialist and Emergency Responder at the Smithsonian Postal Museum, USA
For emergency response and civil protection workers:
“The manual is a very concise step-by-step guide into a very complex process. I have used it for training young volunteers as well as museum professionals and plan to use it for training the military and emergency rescuers, as it is easily understandable by professionals of all backgrounds. Cultural institutions in the countries facing threats of armed conflict should make this handbook as their core field guide.”
- Manana Tevzadze, Chairman, Blue Shield Georgia
“After the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, we had to evacuate collections from several buildings that had become unsafe. The Nepal military helped us, but they needed training. This handbook is therefore, an important resource. It will help us to train others and prepare for future disasters.”
- Yamuna Maharjan, Curator, National Museum of Nepal
“Under extreme conditions caused by the war taking place in our country in this period, which is negatively affecting our cultural heritage, this book is a real help to us and those working in the field carrying out the rapid evacuation of museums and endangered heritage.”
- Hiba Ali, Architect, Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums, Syria
Coming soon: this book has been translated into Arabic and will be available in coming weeks.