As part of the SOS Heritage project, the Center for Cultural Property Protection, together with ICOM Austria, hosted the first of a three-part workshop series on 'Emergency Planning & Disaster Prevention - Measures to Protect Museums' in Krems.
Extreme weather events caused by climate change have increased in frequency and intensity in Europe in recent years. Periods of heat and drought, heavy rainfall and flooding not only threaten (human) life, but also pose a major threat to our cultural heritage and have the potential to cause massive damage. As a result, museums, depots and cultural heritage sites are increasingly affected: Threats range from fire and water damage to technical failures, power cuts and blackouts. In addition, vandalism, acts of terrorism and armed conflicts have once again become real threats to Europe's population. Disasters can have a devastating impact on our cultural heritage in depots and collections. It is more important than ever to be prepared for the risks of our time.
The Center for Cultural Property Protection is a partner in the ongoing Creative Europe project ‘SOS Heritage’, which addresses the increasing impact of climate change on cultural heritage by identifying effective and efficient conservation, adaptation and mitigation strategies to develop sustainable management measures for our cultural heritage. The project focuses on the emerging need for trained professionals who are able to assess, measure, monitor and prevent the risks to cultural property caused by climate change and inadequate conservation measures.
The main objective of the workshop (13th June) was to address prevention and risk management for cultural property. The Center for Cultural Property Protection presented application-oriented results of the SOS Heritage project. ICOM gave an overview of the measures required to obtain the Austrian Museum Quality Seal. Various presentations by the Austrian Fire Brigade Association and the museum associations of the Austrian federal provinces highlighted blind spots in preparatory measures, and in the subsequent workshop sessions the participants were able to deepen the topics in informative and active discussions.
The ICOM workshop series, which took place in Krems as well as Graz and Salzburg (October, November 2023), was primarily aimed at museum professionals and repositories, private cultural heritage managers, owners of cultural heritage sites and cultural institutions, as well as people working in the field of conservation, restoration and management of cultural heritage.
ICOM - International Council of Museums is the largest national organisation for museums and museum professionals. It is associated with the UNESCO and offers its members a platform for exchange on topics such as museum architecture, conservation, marketing, security and education. In addition, ICOM awards the 'Österreichisches Museumsgütesiegel' (Austrian Museum Quality Seal) to museums that meet internationally recognised standards for museums and are particularly committed to quality assurance and improvement.