UNESCO and IFESCCO supported conduction of the Regional Thematic UNESCO/ICOM Training on Preventive Conservation as the Main Factor of the Preservation of Museum Collections: Manuscript Funds
In the framework of the joint project of UNESCO and IFESCCO “Running a Museum – XXI Century: Thematic Regional Capacity-building UNESCO/ICOM Trainings and Expert Meetings for CIS countries” (2011-2014), a Regional Thematic UNESCO/ICOM Training for museum specialists from CIS countries on “Preventive Conservation as the Main Factor of the Preservation of Museum Collections: Manuscript Funds” took place in Yerevan, Armenia from 8 to 10 October 2012.
The Regional Thematic Training in Yerevan has continued the cycle of national and regional UNESCO/ICOM trainings conducted with UNESCO and IFESCCO support for CIS countries in 2008-2010. The Training was prepared on the basis of UNESCO/ICOM Museum Studies Training Package “Running a Museum – XXI century” issued within the UNESCO and IFESCCO projects for museum specialists in 2010.
The events were organized by UNESCO Office in Moscow, in cooperation with the UNESCO Offices in Almaty and Tashkent, on the basis of the Scientific Research Institute of Ancient Manuscripts after Mesrop Mashtots “Matenadaran” and Benevolent Fund “Friends of Matenadaran” and in partnership with the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Armenia, Armenian National Commission for UNESCO, ICOM National Committee of Armenia, the National Library and the History Museum of Armenia.
The Regional Thematic UNESCO/ICOM Training Program was focused on theoretical and practical aspects of preventive conservation of manuscript collections as one of the main factors of preservation of museum collections. The following questions were the target of the training:
- Preventive Conservation and the individual packaging for archival documents and books;
- Initial processing of documents from dust and mold spores as a preventive measure to protect documents from destruction;
- Detection of biodegradation on samples of archive documents of Matenadaran and their preservation.
The Training Program in Yerevan involves highly qualified specialists with many years of research experience in analysis of the situation of funds in priority areas in conservation and restoration of cultural heritage as trainers and experts as well as the participation of representatives of the leading museums of Armenia, Belarus Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.
Highly qualified trainers played a key role in the successful completion of the event. Between them: Palamar Natalya, Director of the Laboratory of Biochemical protection and restoration of documents of Archive of the Academy of Sciences, Petrova Natalya, Head of restoration department in IEGRC after Academician I.E.Grabar, Eliazyan Gayane, Head of the Department of Conservation and Restoration of the Scientific Research Institute of Ancient Manuscripts after Mesrop Mashtots “Matenadaran”, Ara Khzmalyan, Head of Department of storage, scientific treatment and digitalizing of archive documents of “Matenadaran” , Stashkevich Alla, Chief of the Department of the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, Institute of Culture of Belarus, Chair of the Belarusian Committee of ICOM.
Manuscript heritage of countries-participants needs to have a complex of modern methods and technologies of preservation and careful restoration. Preventive conservation is no less important as the main factor of preservation of museum collections, particularly manuscript collections. The Regional Thematic UNESCO/ICOM Training will give the leading museum specialists of CIS countries an opportunity to discuss common problems, ways and means to overcome them, to share experiences on the basis of manuscripts of the Matenadaran.
The thematic focus of Regional Training in Yerevan was also intended to facilitate the implementation of international law and Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, the Code of Professional Ethics of ICOM, preservation and protection of manuscripts during emergencies, the museum’s climate and preventive conservation, exhibitions and expositions in museums.
It is important to note that Yerevan was declared “World Book Capital 2012” by UNESCO and celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Armenian book printing. In this case the Regional Thematic UNESCO/ICOM Training in Yerevan took place on the same days as the Second International Scientific-practical seminar “The Faces of Memory: The Newest Technologies of Preservation and Restoration of Manuscript and Printed Heritage”. A joint expert meeting of specialists of the UNESCO/ICOM Training and Seminar within the framework of events was carried out.
At the end of the training basic recommendations on improving preventive conservation of museum collections, in particular manuscript collections in CIS countries were developed. The recommendations are to be disseminated among the institutions and organizations, including the Ministries of Culture and largest museums of CIS Member States, with the aim to foster active participation of museums in the preventive conservation with consideration of the international best experience in this field.
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