Risk Management for Historical Buildings and Monuments

25.09. - 29.09.2023
Dornbirn, Austria

[Risk Management for Cultural Heritage]

Summer School 2023 Flyer


The Summer School 2023 was part of the EU Erasmus+ project "Risk Management for Cultural Heritage Protection" (RMCH).

RMCH addresses the risks to cultural property and heritage sites from environmental events and natural disasters related to climate change. These risks are to be assessed and reduced or prevented by well-trained experts. The Summer School was part of the development and testing of training programmes for a future professional group: cultural heritage risk managers.

During the Summer School, participants explored risks to cultural heritage, emergency and risk management plans, the development of networks to protect cultural heritage and the use of modern web applications to assess vulnerability, the impact of disasters and the loss of cultural property and historic buildings. The focus was on collaborating with emergency responders to optimise cultural heritage risk management preparedness.

In addition to a practical evacuation exercise by the participants of a simulated fire in the Stadtarchiv Lindau, followed by a personal evacuation exercise by the Lindau Fire Brigade, the week included visits to and assessments of archives, repositories and libraries in Dornbirn, Egg, Lindau, Hard and Bregenz, some of which are housed in historic buildings. Participants used the CHARISMA Web App to create individual risk analyses for three archives. Further practical exercises tested the handling of wet archival materials.



Cultural Heritage Protection in Climate Change



The Summer School 2022 was part of the EU Erasmus+ project "Cultural Heritage Protection in Climate Change online" (CHePiCC online).

The CHePiCC online Summer School was a transdisciplinary summer university on cultural landscapes in climate change. The focus was primarily on cultural and natural landscapes in Norway and the most common building material there, wood. Comparisons were also made with landscapes in other climates (e.g. Central Europe, Mediterranean) and with other historic materials exposed to climatic damage.
In addition, interdisciplinary experts identified research priorities on the use of green energy (especially solar energy, which is a challenge in the Scandinavian countries) and on achieving zero emissions in the built environment with historic buildings.

The Summer School was aimed primarily at international students specialising in architecture, heritage conservation, archaeology, urban/landscape planning, engineering, restoration and building culture. The programme included an intensive mix of lectures and site visits, including Trondheim's modern urban development with the Nyhavna district, the old harbour district with its wooden warehouses and the World War II-era Dora submarine bunker, now used as an archive.

This allowed the students to learn and internalise theoretical and practical aspects, visit real-life case studies and local sites, and deepen the information acquired through exchanges with other students and experts.

30.05. - 05.06.2022
Trondheim, Norway

[CHePiCC online]

CHePiCC online Summer School Norway 2022 Flyer



Protecting and evacuating museums and archaeological sites during natural catastrophes

07.02. - 11.02.2022

[Living Danube Limes]

Living Danube Limes Winter School 2022 Flyer


The Winter School 2022 was part of the EU Transnational Danube Programme project Living Danube Limes.

The Winter School focused on the development of cost-effective and efficient plans for the protection and, if necessary, evacuation of museums and archaeological sites in the event of natural disasters.
Experts in heritage and cultural property protection, as well as stakeholders, students and the interested public from a total of 13 countries participated in online lectures on various topics related to the protection of cultural property. Topics included the protection of and threats to cultural heritage, risk assessment, UNESCO World Heritage management plans, climate change as a threat to cultural heritage, conservation standards for archaeological sites and the Living Danube Limes project.

The aim was to share the expertise of the project partner organisations and other experts with end users/stakeholders at local, regional and national level. Presentations were developed in moderated working groups on the topics of "Threats to the Roman heritage along the Danube" and "Emergency preparedness for museums and sites".




Risk Management and Protection Strategies for Cultural Landscapes in Climate Change



The Summer School 2021 was the second Summer School within the Interreg Central Europe project "Strengthening resilience of Cultural Heritage at risk in a changing environment through proactive transnational cooperation" (STRENCH).

With a compact five-day programme, the Summer School focused on "Risk Management & Protection Strategies for Cultural Landscapes in a Changing Environment". Each day of the course had a specific focus.
Monday: introduction & focus on the challenges of climate change
Tuesday: vulnerability & preventive protection
Wednesday: risk assessment & risk management
Thursday: International STRENCH Conference
Friday: case study presentations from the consortium working groups

The aim of the Summer School was to improve the risk management skills of the participants while providing a deeper insight into strategies to protect cultural landscapes from ongoing climate change. In addition to assessing the vulnerability of existing cultural landscapes and/or objects, the application of WebGIS and other satellite-based technologies was taught. Conservation aspects on land and under water, as well as presentations on the protection of cultural property from civil and military perspectives, provided participants with a broad range of knowledge on cultural heritage protection.

07.06. - 11.06.2021


STRENCH Summer School 2021 Flyer

STRENCH Summer School 2021 Flyer



Tools and Strategies for Strengthening Resilience of Cultural Heritage in Climate Change

28.09 - 09.10.2020


STRENCH Summer School 2020 Flyer

STRENCH Summer School 2020 Flyer



The two-week programme was part of the Interreg Central Europe project "Strengthening resilience of Cultural Heritage at risk in a changing environment through proactive transnational cooperation" (STRENCH) and was the first of two summer schools within this project.

The first week was designed as a slow introduction to the topic, focusing on cultural heritage and the need to protect it from a range of threats, not only climate change. Participants were given an insight into the holistic approach needed to protect cultural heritage.
The second week of the Summer School consisted of a mixture of theoretical lectures and practical exercises in which participants were able to apply the tools and methods developed in STRENCH and related projects to their own practical case studies.
The lectures and group work of the Summer School aimed to strengthen the expertise in the field of cultural property protection and to further promote the use of satellite technology as used in the Web GIS tool. The networking of students from all over the world was promoted by the collegial exchange.



Climate Change and Cultural Landscapes - Preventive conservation of natural and cultural resources along the river Danube


The Summer School 2019 was the second of its kind in the framework of the project Risk Assessment and Sustainable Protection of Cultural Heritage in a Changing Environment (ProteCHt2save).

The week started with theoretical lectures by experts on climate change and preparatory measures for the protection of cultural heritage, based on the latest developments of ProteCHt2save. During a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Wachau - the area between Krems and Melk along the Danube - the natural landscape with its wine terraces was explored on a boat trip. A visit to the Benedictine monastery at Melk Abbey rounded off the trip.

Another focus of the Summer School was practical emergency preparedness for cultural property in the Wachau, in particular for the medieval town of Stein, now a district of Krems. The main threat to Stein is flooding from the Danube. The Lower Austrian National Gallery is located in an area that is considered at risk of flooding if the mobile barrier is damaged or not high enough in the event of a future flood. The Krems Fire Brigade therefore tested the evacuation of the most important exhibited paintings. The preparatory measures were developed by the Summer School participants, who also presented the routing system to the fire brigade and museum staff.

08.07. - 13.07.2019
Krems, Austria


ProteCHt2save Summer School Flyer



Cultural Heritage Rescue Teams and Crisis Staff Work

27.08. - 01.09.2018
Melk, Austria


ProteCHt2save Summer School 2018



The first Summer School within the Interreg Central Europe project Risk assessment and sustainable protection of Cultural Heritage in changing environment (ProteCHt2save) focused on Cultural Heritage Rescue Teams (CHRTs).

ProteCHt2save focuses on the protection of cultural heritage from the effects of climate change (e.g. extreme weather events such as floods, heavy rainfall, droughts) with the aim of establishing CHRTs in Central European countries. 19 participants from 9 countries brought their individual knowledge to the one-week Summer School at the Benedictine Abbey of Melk.

The Summer School was opened with a series of lectures on the work of military crisis teams, the work processes of crisis teams of emergency organisations and coordination processes with volunteers in cultural heritage protection.
This was followed by the KOLOMANI18 simulation exercise, in which the participants were called upon as cultural heritage experts to assist the Lower Austrian military command in dealing with an impending flood in the Wachau region. Both the population and the movable cultural property of the region had to be evacuated. The participants were given an insight into the activities and equipment of the Pionierbataillon 3 and worked in groups to develop models and prototypes for CHRTs, as well as an emergency evacuation plan for a fictitious museum in the monastery. The participants then carried out an evacuation exercise based on this plan, acting as staff of Melk Abbey, and practised working with the Liaison Officers for Military Cultural Property Protection.

The final day was rounded off with a tour of the Wachau region and an excursion to Retz.



Emergency Treatment for Materials from Archives and Museums


The Summer School 2017 focused on the rescue and treatment of wet books and archival materials. The programme focused on preventive and emergency measures to protect water- and moisture-sensitive written materials and paper from damage caused by fire and associated water damage, floods or mudslides.

After keynote speeches by national and international experts, the eight participants were given the task of developing emergency plans for moisture damage for a fictitious "Museum of Records and Bureaucracy" ("Papierium") housed in the seminar rooms of the Danube University Krems, as well as short training sequences for the correct handling of wet paper material.

In the course of drawing up the emergency plan, various aspects of a disaster scenario for a museum were examined: Prevention, self-protection (statics of the building, power supply, safety at work), accessibility of museum spaces (door opening, emergency kit, contact details of people and institutions to be notified), initial damage assessment, determination of the extent of damage and removal of wet museum objects (priorities, equipment, procedure, physical removal, unpacking and laying out of objects left in the building to dry on site) and documentation.

The participants had the opportunity to experiment with 1930s files and books, as well as practice the correct handling of wet paper material. The preparation of the wet books for freeze-drying was demonstrated in practice at the end of the week as part of a final public presentation, where interested people were able to lend a hand and retrieve books from a basin filled with water and Danube mud and prepare them for freeze-drying.

21.08. - 25.08.2017
Krems, Austria

Summer School Cultural Property Protection 2017



Emergency and Evacuation Plans for Wolrd Heritage Sites

22.08. - 26.08.2016
Traismauer, Austria

Summer School Emergency and Evacuation Plans for World Heritage Sites 2016


The Summer School 2016, organised jointly with the Center for Architectural Heritage and Infrastructure, focused on the development of a basic emergency plan for the depots of the Traismauer City Museum, which are housed in the Wiener Tor and Traismauer Castle.

Experts gave presentations to the 24 participants on cultural property protection, emergency preparedness, international humanitarian law, the 1954 Hague Convention and the Danube Limes in Austria. The Traismauer Fire Brigade provided an insight into their operations and equipment. In a mock fire around the Wiener Tor, where cultural heritage was located, the Traismauer volunteer fire brigade demonstrated an extinguishing operation with subsequent support of the statics affected by the extinguishing operation.
In working groups, the participants discussed the legal aspects of an evacuation, the correct inventory of the objects to be evacuated, and the most efficient methods of carrying out an evacuation by the emergency services.
An emergency evacuation plan was developed for the Museum Traismauer, part of the future UNESCO World Heritage Site Danube-Limes. The focus was on preparing for a possible evacuation and on inventorying, setting up and organising a depot.

On the final day of the Summer School, soldiers from the Lower Austrian Military Command, cultural heritage protection experts from the Austrian Armed Forces and Summer School participants carried out the TRAISMAUER16 evacuation exercise, during which some of the most valuable archaeological objects from the Wiener Tor were moved to Traismauer Castle, cleaned, repacked and stored in the depot prepared for this purpose.


World Heritage and Disaster Risk Management


The Summer School 2015, organised jointly with the Center for Architectural Heritage and Infrastructure and the Center for Museum Collections Management, focused on the practical implementation of the provisions of the 1954 Hague Convention at sites already inscribed or in the process of being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The one-week programme covered the interrelationship between the specific needs and requirements of World Heritage sites and their cultural institutions, such as museums, archives and libraries, as well as the procedures, methods and technical possibilities to be applied. In addition, the Summer School took into account intangible aspects such as experience and local knowledge for risk reduction and disaster management.

In addition to lectures by national and international experts on the main topics of the Summer School, the programme included an excursion to the Lower Austrian Military Command in St. Pölten and an excursion to the Museum Traismauer. In interdisciplinary team workshops, the participants developed emergency concepts for the Museum Traismauer.

24.08. - 28.08.2015
Krems, Austria

Summer School World Heritage and Disaster Risk Management 2015

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