The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Friday, August 23, 2019

United States museums provide emergency support for Syrian museum collections
Gunfire damage to 6th century AD mosaic from Farkiya, Ma'arra Museum, Idlib, Syria. Photo courtesy Ali Othman and the Ma’arra Museum.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- In addition to the high toll that Syria’s four-year-old civil war has had on its people and infrastructure, Syria’s cultural heritage has been and continues to be destroyed at an unprecedented rate. World Heritage sites like the historic city of Aleppo and Krak des Chevaliers, as well as medieval Christian cemeteries and numerous archaeological sites and museums, have been subjected to extensive raiding and looting.

In an effort to help stem the loss of the region’s significant cultural heritage, Penn Museum’s Penn Cultural Heritage Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., in cooperation with the Syrian Interim Government’s Heritage Task Force, have come together to offer assistance for museum curators, heritage experts, and civilians working to protect cultural heritage inside Syria. A three-day training program, “Emergency Care for Syrian Museum Collections,” focusing on safeguarding high risk collections, was completed in late June; additional training programs are being planned, pending funding.

“While it is very difficult for international heritage organizations to travel into Syria today, there are a number of Syrians who regularly risk their lives to protect their cultural heritage,” noted Brian Daniels, Ph.D., Director of Research and Programs, Penn Cultural Heritage Center at the Penn Museum. “This workshop and other efforts going forward are designed to support these individuals and their efforts.”

About 20 people from several Syrian provinces attended the first training, held in an undisclosed location outside of Syria, and facilitated by Dr. Daniels; Corine Wegener, cultural heritage preservation officer, Smithsonian Institution; and Robert Patterson, exhibits specialist, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. Workshop leaders were joined by Syrian scholars Salam al-Kuntar, lecturer, University of Pennsylvania; Amr Al-Azm, chair of the Syrian Interim Government’s Heritage Task Force and associate professor, Shawnee State University; and Ali Othman, researcher, Université of Paris I. Technical assistance for the program was provided by the U.S. Institute of Peace (Washington, D.C.) and The Day After Association (Brussels, Belgium), a Syrian-led civil society NGO. The training was funded by the Smithsonian and the J. M. Kaplan Fund (New York).

The objectives of the workshop were three-fold: to offer information on how to secure museum collections safely during emergencies; to provide participants with basic supplies for packing and securing museum collections, and to begin a dialogue among Syrian participants about emergency responses. “This workshop fits the model of heritage preservation promoted by the Penn Cultural Heritage Center,” said Richard M. Leventhal, the Center’s Executive Director. “Local communities are best equipped to identify heritage in need of preservation and protection, and this is precisely what is happening in Syria. We are pleased to work alongside communities in Syria and other places around the world to support these efforts.”

Conditions at the Ma’arra Museum in Idlib province, famous for its collections of Byzantine mosaics, were a subject of much discussion and concern. The museum has received collateral damage in the fighting and come under direct attack by ISIS units. The workshop was able to offer some suggestions for stabilization in the current situation and provide emergency conservation supplies.

Ms. Wegener stressed the importance of bringing people together in a collaborative environment to address situations like those in Syria. “Workshops like these allow us to work directly with the cultural heritage professionals and activists who are on the ground caring for damaged and at-risk collections. We provide them practical information about protecting collections and sites, along with critically needed supplies and equipment. In return, we learn a great deal from our Syrian colleagues.”

While June’s emergency training program is seen as a critical first step, Penn Museum’s Penn Cultural Heritage Center, the Smithsonian Institution, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), with the cooperation of the Syrian Interim Government’s Heritage Task Force, are gearing up to launch an extensive new project to document current conditions and future preservation needs, tracking and reporting intentional damage and destruction to cultural heritage sites in Syria.

Today's News

July 17, 2014

Imperial War Museum London opens new, permanent First World War Galleries

Detroit Institute of Arts announces $26.8 million in pledges from Michigan businesses for Grand Bargain

First major Malevich retrospective for almost twenty-five years opens at Tate Modern

Exhibition of Japanese collaborative digital artists, teamLab, opens at Pace New York

Leading artists Antony Gormley and Grayson Perry launch 'Art Everywhere' in London

Michael Dweck wows with reinvisioned works at new gallery show at Staley Wise, New York

Mandela mementos to go on sale at the Stephan Welz & Co. auction house in Johannesburg

Martial Raysse, Steven Holl and Giuseppe Penone among five winners of 2014 Praemium Imperiale Awards

United States comic icon Archie Andrews dies saving openly gay character

Lucian Freud's aged whippet races to the top of Bonhams Prints and Multiples Sale

United States museums provide emergency support for Syrian museum collections

'Paper, Pencil & Ink: Prints & Other Works on Paper' opens at Ruiz-Healy Art

Sotheby's shines in Asia: Record sales in the first half of 2014 demonstrating unrivalled market leadership

Global interest drives $10.24 million in sales at historic Littlefield Military Collection Auction

Record half year at Christie's art sales of $4.5 billion, up 12%

Antonio Gagliano's Buno opens at the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona

New bidding initiative from Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions receives exceptional results

Exhibition of new work by Rachel Kneebone opens at White Cube

Exhibition of early and contemporary Nigerian photography opens at Bonhams

Cahiers d'Art celebrates the 100th issue of the revue with Hiroshi Sugimoto

Portland Museum of Art hires New Peggy L. Osher Director of Learning and Interpretation

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Conservation reveals Wellington Collection work was painted by Titian's Workshop

2.- New dinosaur discovered after lying misidentified in university's vaults for over 30 years

3.- Unseen Texas Chainsaw Massacre outtakes and stills sold for a combined $26,880

4.- National gallery reveals conserved Italian altarpiece by Giovanni Martini da Udine

5.- London's Tate Modern evacuated after child falls, teen arrested

6.- Bavarian State Minister of the Arts restitutes nine works of art

7.- Boy thrown from London's Tate Modern is French tourist visiting UK

8.- Child thrown from London gallery has broken spine, legs and arm

9.- £10 million Turner masterpiece may leave British shores

10.- Tourists banned from sitting on Rome's Spanish Steps

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful