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UNESCO-ICCROM Partnership for the Preventive Conservation of Endangered Museum Collections in Developing Countries (2007-2010)

Partnership meeting in Benin, September 2007 in EPA ©UNESCO

In 2007, UNESCO launched a three-year partnership with ICCROM(International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) to assist museums in developing countries with improving their skills for the preventive conservation of collections.

Over the last 25 years, the number of museums worldwide and the size of collections have been dramatically growing while resources are spread more and more thinly. In developing countries, the collections of many museums are in dire straights, with often no access to the network of resources and expertise, which exists in other countries.

Preventive conservation refers to measures aimed at avoiding or minimizing deterioration or loss, meaning that actions are carried out within the context or in the surroundings of an object or group of objects, whatever their age or condition. These measures and actions are indirect – they do not interfere with the materials and structures of the items. They do not modify their appearance. Examples of preventive conservation are: appropriate measures and actions for registration, storage, handling, packing and transportation, security, environmental management (light, humidity, pollution and pest control), emergency planning, education of staff, public awareness, legal compliance (source: ICOM-CC definition).

Partnership Goals

UNESCO and ICCROM are combining their know-how, experience and networks to enhance the conservation capacity of museum professionals in developing countries in ensuring the preservation and access to their collections.

The partnership focuses on the following key areas:

In addition, UNESCO and ICCROM are carrying out joint research and pilot training programmes for each topic, which will be developed into handy tools for problem analysis, teaching materials and teachers training methods, in collaboration with a number of partner institutions.

Like other UNESCO programmes in the field of museum development, these partnership activities aim at developing and disseminating tested and proven management tools and teaching materials, especially for museums with few resources.

Project budget: US$ 300,000 for 2007-2010
Start Date: 01-01-2007   End Date: 31-12-2010

Contact: Ms. Nao Hayashi-Denis, UNESCO Section of Museums & Cultural Objects

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