Tackling Disaster Risk at Museums and Site Museums in Iran

, Iran (Islamic Republic of)

UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office in line with its mandate in the effective implementation of the UNESCO 1970 Convention and the works of the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation and the role of the museums enhanced by stakeholders implementing the UNESCO 2015 Recommendation on museums and collections, organized a Regional Capacity- Building Workshop on “Disaster Risk Management at Museums and Site Museums with Focus on Fire Incidents” at Sa’adabad Cultural Historical Complex in Tehran, from  10 to 12 November 2019.

For years now, museums have been confronted with problems such as illegal trafficking, looting, inadequate funding or housing, natural disasters. Added to those, museums in many countries are now faced with new threats that are making them more vulnerable than ever before. An unexpected fire, an unexpected water supply failure, or even unexpected damage to the collection. What they are usually not prepared for, however, is an unexpected armed conflict or terrorist attack.

The capacity-building workshop was organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage Tourism and Handicrafts and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) Iran.

This workshop opened by the remarks from the Dr. Kargar, Director General of Section for Moveable Heritage and Museums at the Ministry of Cultural Heritage Tourism and Handicrafts highlighting the importance of readiness of museum staff to response to both natural and man-made crisis.

Dr. Talebian, the Deputy for Cultural Heritage at the Ministry of Cultural Heritage Tourism and Handicrafts thanked the continuous efforts of UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office to the Government of I.R. of Iran for preservation and management of cultural heritage by organizing capacity building workshops, trainings and expert missions thorough the years.

During the opening the message of Mr. Cvetan Cvetkovski, Officer-in-Charge of UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office was read.  He mentioned that holding this capacity workshop is very timely as sadly, the country has faced flood and file incidents during the past few months.

“The fruit of hundreds of years of collecting and research can be squandered in a matter of minutes by organized professionals who know perfectly well what they are doing. But we can stop this. And that is the reason we are all gathered here today: to become better organizers, better professionals.” Said Ms. Mahta Mohegh, In Charge of Culture Unit of UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office while delivering the message of Mr Cvetkovski.

The capacity-building workshop was attended by museum curators, head of museums as well as the members of the crisis committees of the museums from several provinces of I.R. of Iran. The workshop also welcomed two representatives from the museums of I.R of Afghanistan and I.R. of Pakistan as part of the mandate of UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office in support to its cluster countries.

The three-day workshop was facilitated by two of the very renewed experts; Ms. Francoise Collanges and Ms. Manana Tevzadze, recommended by The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM).

On the second fay of the workshop, the fire department organized a fire demonstration and extinguish in which some objects were burnt. The participants later practiced how to rescue the burnt and wet objects. On the third day of the workshop, the participants had an evacuation exercise to rescue objects after a crisis.

For more information about UNESCO 2015 Recommendation on museums and collections, please see: