02.02.2015 - UNESCO Office in Beirut

UNESCO trains Syrian professionals on securing movable heritage

Experts performing a simulation exercise © UNESCO Beirut 2015

With the persisting crisis in Syria, and as the humanitarian and security situation continues to deteriorate, concerns over the protection of the Syrian cultural heritage have increased considerably. In response to this prevailing alarming situation, UNESCO has launched a series of activities to help safeguarding the Syrian cultural heritage from increasing acts of destruction, illicit excavations and looting.

In the framework of the “Emergency Safeguarding of the Syrian Cultural Heritage” project funded by the European Union with the support of the Flemish Government, the UNESCO Office in Beirut organized a "Training to protect movable heritage during and after the conflict and protect the museums from looting". Held from 26 to 30 January 2015, the training involved experts from the Syrian Directorate General for Antiquities and Museums (DGAM), UNESCO, INTERPOL, International Council of Museums (ICOM), and Blue Shield. It was addressed to Syrian heritage professionals in charge of the protection of museum collections, manuscripts, archives, books, etc.

“It was an opportunity to bring together people from different parts of Syria and share experiences in securing museum collections and placing objects in safe places” said Project Officer Cristina Menegazzi. “During the training”, she added, “many came to realise that the efforts they had made so far were already in accordance with international practices”.

The programme covered areas such as the illicit trafficking of cultural objects, legal frameworks, museum disaster risk management, objects, archives and manuscripts conservation. To complement this acquired theoretical knowledge, the training included a museum disaster risk assessment exercise, simulations and hands-on exercises on object manipulation, evacuation, packing and storing, in addition to a flood simulation and exercises on the manipulation of wet objects.

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