The UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, in cooperation with the Iranian Cultural Heritage Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) and the National Iranian Council for Museums (ICOM), organized a training workshop on Crisis Management at Museums on 30-31 August 2017.
The two-day workshop took place in Golestan Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tehran, and brought together museum managers, heritage site managers, and cultural experts from Afghanistan and Iran.
“For years, museums have been confronted with illegal trading, dispersal, looting, inadequate funding or housing, and natural disasters”, said Ms. Esther Kuisch Laroche, Director and Representative of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office. “Entire regions are plundered to supply the illegal trade in cultural objects, which is the third largest in the world after drugs and arms trafficking”.
The UNESCO Representative continued to say that in addition to those threats, museums in many countries with armed conflict, were now also subject to deliberate attacks. She referred to the bombings at the Museums of Kabul and Baghdad in recent years.
“For some, it might seem quite surprising to focus on culture, given the horrors of war. Yet these attacks on cultural heritage have lasting consequences on the social cohesion and identity of the peoples concerned long after peace is restored”, said Ms. Kuisch Laroche.
The training workshop focused on different types of natural and man-made disasters which might affect museum collections and focused on risk assessments, and interventions that could be undertaken before, during and after crises to protect museum collections.
Dr. Mohit Tabatabaei, Head of ICOM in Iran, talked about how Iran had managed to preserve its cultural properties and museum collections during the years of the war.
Dr. Mohammad Hasan Talebian, Cultural Heritage Deputy of the Iranian Cultural Heritage Handcrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO), thanked the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office for its ongoing efforts to increase the capacity of museum managers and heritage site managers in Iran.
The workshop was facilitated by French expert, Mr. Roch Payet, and included practical group exercises on risk assessments at selected museums in Tehran.
Mr. Payet focused on preventive conservation and the importance of proper documentation and inventories at museums, in order to be prepared to manage disasters and crises.
For more information about UNESCO’s work to protect and promote museum collections, please see here.
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