Workshops boost post-quake recovery of cultural heritage in Nepal

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© Heba Helmy -Workshop on access of museum collections
01 March 2016

The 2015 earthquakes have had a devastating impact on Nepal’s tangible, intangible and movable cultural heritage. Several cultural heritage sites located in the seven Monument Zones of the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Site and several museums have been severely damaged or reduced to rubble by the deadly quake. Yet heritage experts retain hope and continue to focus on recovery efforts.

Two workshops are currently being held in Kathmandu enhancing the capacity of built heritage and museum professionals to develop a systematic methodology for decision making on the post-quake recovery and rehabilitation process. The workshops are promoting coordination among various actors and stakeholders engaged in the recovery of cultural sites, historic settlements and museum collections.

The Department of Archaeology, ICCROM, the Institute for Disaster Mitigation of Urban Cultural Heritage at Ritsumeikan University, and ICOMOS Nepal in cooperation with the UNESCO have organized a series of workshops from 21 to 26 February 2016 to support the post-earthquake recovery of cultural heritage in Nepal. These workshops have been organized with the generous support of the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment.

Forty cultural heritage professionals from Nepal, currently engaged in a variety of cultural recovery projects, are taking part in these workshops. The initiative is a continuation of the previous workshop on emergency stabilization of heritage structures organized in Kathmandu in June 2015 within the framework of ICCROM-ICOMOS-ICOM-The Smithsonian Institution project on First aid to cultural heritage for recovery and risk reduction.

Similarly, as a follow-up to the project’s previous workshop on emergency salvage of heritage fragments and museum collections, a parallel workshop on post-earthquake recovery, safe storage and access to museum collections is being held at the National Museum in Chhauni. Thirty professionals from Chhauni museum, Hanuman Dhoka museum and regional museums across the country are being trained in the design and installation of a sustainable collection storage, surface cleaning, stabilization, labeling and packaging of different types of museum objects. UNESCO has co-supported this workshop for provision of storage equipment with funding from the Government of Flanders aimed at supporting the recovery of cultural heritage affected by the 2015 earthquakes that hit Nepal.