Training seminar on "Museum Emergency Preparedness" in UNESCO Beirut

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© UNESCO

Under the High Patronage of H.E. Minister of Culture, Mr. Raymond Arayji, UNESCO Beirut Office in close collaboration with the Lebanese National Committee of ICOM (International Council of museums), jointly organized a training seminar on "Museum Emergency Preparedness" from 26 to 28 May 2015, in UNESCO Office in Beirut.

This training came as a part of risk management activities conducted by UNESCO, and was dedicated for museums professionals and institutions involved in the protection, preservation and safeguarding of cultural heritage.

This activity's major objectives included identification of potential risks facing the various institutions, preparation and development of emergency plans, as well as measures and response planning in cases of emergencies. The training seminar includes theoretical and practical approaches while it orbits around two main themes: risks and actions in museums; and contributing to the development and implementation of an emergency plan.

Speaking at this event, UNESCO Culture programme specialist Joseph Kreidi confirmed that this training comes as "a response to the interest and assistance requests expressed by the Lebanese authorities", and "in the framework of the series of activities that UNESCO has been conducting in Lebanon to strengthen local capacities, and update the current techniques and intervention processes in place".

Mr. Kreidi also praised the partnership between the different parties involved, considering that "it's through this type of partnership, and through this shared vision of cultural heritage that we should apply the essential energy and resources to fight the crimes committed against culture".

At the same time, representing HE Minister Raymond Arayji, the National Museum director Ms. Anne-Marie Afeich said in her speech that "this Conference comes in response to a pressing need, that is unfortunately very urgent due to the events in the region, since the damage caused by the armed conflict imposes the existence of an appropriate plan to enable each museum and cultural institution in charge of safeguarding and protecting heritage to take the appropriate measures to face these destructive emergencies".

"This Conference comes within the framework of the cultural resistance policy established by the Ministry of culture", she added.

Also speaking at this training, ICOM President in Lebanon Suzy Hakimian stressed the fact that "budgets allocated by the government are rarely enough to sustain public museums". "We need to adopt new approaches, like modern communications tools and Private-Public Partnerships to find new resources and explore new opportunities", added Hakimian.

The training seminar included theoretical and practical approaches while it orbits around two main themes: risks and actions in museums; and contributing to the development and implementation of an emergency plan.

Finally, more than 45 participants working at the different museums around the country were able to benefit from this seminar, conducted by Mr. Stéphane Pennec, conservator and founding Director of the AINU (workshop in Paris for conservation & restoration, exhibition facilities and management, and storage of museums' artefacts).