As part of the 'Cultural Property Protection Summer School 2018', the Center for Cultural Property Protection at the Danube University Krems, together with the Austrian Armed Forces and the Police, is organising a large-scale evacuation exercise on 31st August. The venue for the exercise will be the famous Benedictine monastery of Melk, where the recently developed emergency plan will be put to the test.

In the EU Interreg project ‘ProteCHt2Save - Risk assessment and sustainable protection of Cultural Heritage in changing environment’, international experts from different European countries are working to develop tailor-made solutions and strategies for the protection of cultural heritage in the event of a disaster and to evaluate existing concepts.
As part of this project, the Center for Cultural Porperty Protection at the Danube University Krems is organising a Summer University from 27th to 31st August 2018. More than 25 international participants will focus on crisis management and the development of Cultural Heritage Rescue Teams.

Melk Abbey's emergency plan put to the test
The highlight of the Summer University will be the 'Kolomani 2018' evacuation exercise on Friday 31 August. The simulation will be based on the assumption that the Monastery is threatened by a natural disaster, making the evacuation of the Monastery's historically and culturally significant artefacts urgent and immediate.
In order to keep the scenario as realistic as possible, the participants, divided into several classes, will set up a fictitious museum in the monastery, equipped with realistic model artefacts. During the exercise, the artefacts will be evacuated to a secure collection room at the Birago Barracks in Melk, together with the Liaison Officers / Military Cultural Property Protection of the Military Command of Lower Austria, as well as troops from Pioneer Battalion 3 and the Police. The artefacts will be safely stored and inventoried so that they may be returned to the Monastery after the crisis is over. The exercise will be conducted in accordance with Melk Abbey's recently developed emergency plan, which will be tested in practice under realistic conditions.

'With this evacuation exercise, we are not only strengthening the exchange and cooperation between researchers, security and rescue services, but we are also preparing the Melk Abbey in an exemplary manner for an emergency that will hopefully never occur in the event of a natural disaster,' says Dr Anna Maria Kaiser, an expert in the protection of cultural heritage at Danube University Krems.

'Kolomani' disaster control exercise as part of the Cultural Property Protection Summer University 2018

Date: 31st August 2018
Location: Melk Abbey

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