» International conference to focus on challenges facing World Heritage museums
24.10.2016 - UNESCOPRESS

International conference to focus on challenges facing World Heritage museums

© Bahrain Authority for Culture and HeritageInterior room of Qal’at Al Bahrain Site Museum

An international UNESCO conference on 2 and 3 November at the Organization’s Headquarters will examine challenges facing the 8,000 museums worldwide that are situated in World Heritage sites, some of which, like the museums of Mosul in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria, have been sacked or damaged in conflict situations.

Organized by UNESCO and the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARCWH)*, the event will focus on the role of museums as conveyors of the shared history of sites and their duties with regard to heritage conservation. Separate sessions will also turn to the growing influence of museums on local communities and the specific challenges facing endangered World Heritage museums and sites.

The conference will concern itself both with museums exhibiting artefacts found in World Heritage sites, those dedicated to education about such sites and establishments that are themselves inscribed on the World Heritage List.

The role of World Heritage museums is evolving as they attract ever more visitors. Furthermore, their traditional fucntion as places of study and conservation does not meet the need to highlight the “outstanding universal value” of World Heritage. Notable challenges facing these museums include, the need to modernize curatorial practices, the increasingly frequent call for collections to be displayed in travelling exhibitions, and the use of information and communication technologies in the preservation and presentation of artefacts, as well as the targeting of cultural heritage by violent extremists.

Maamoun Abdulkarim, Director of the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums of Syria, will be among the international experts at the meeting, alongside Dimitrios Pandermalis, Curator of the new Acropolis Museum (Greece); Azedine Beschaouch of the Institut de France, Former Minister of Culture of Tunisia, Lilia Rivero, Head Curator, National Palace (Mexico) and others.

In November 2015, UNESCO adopted a Recommendation concerning the protection and promotion of museums and collections, their diversity and their role in society, 55 years after the adoption of the only legal text on the subject, adopted in 1960**. In this recommendation, the international community recognizes that museums today play a vital role for education, social cohesion and sustainable development.


More information on the conference

Media contact: Agnès Bardon, UNESCO Press Service UNESCO, +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 64, a.bardon(at)unesco.org

Press accreditiation : Djibril Kebe, d.kebe(at)unesco.org, + 33 (O)1 45 68 17 41

* in cooperation with the Arab League's Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the International Council of Museums (ICOM)

**Recommendation concerning ways to make museums accessible to all

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