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Cultural Heritage recovery for water damaged objects

Extreme recent rainfall in both Central Europe, China and India have led to devastating floods. In Europe, this unusual weather has broken the banks of the rivers Danube, Elbe, Rhine and Meuse, flooding local communities across regions of Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, The Netherlands and Slovakia. In the People’s Republic of China, the Henan province and its capital city, Zhengzhou have been severely affected by torrential rains. In India, torrential downpours have lashed the western coast in recent days effecting areas of Goa and Maharashtra state, south of Mumbai.

Humanitarian and technical help take priority in the immediate response to these disasters. As the flood waters recede, the devastation left behind becomes clearer. Loss to cultural heritage institutions and collections is being assessed by those coordinating cultural heritage rescue efforts and measures are being put in place by local first aid disaster responders.

As the International Committee for Conservation of the International Council of Museums (ICOM-CC), we anticipate and acknowledge the enormous endeavours to safeguard, recover, retrieve and stabilise affected cultural heritage, museum buildings, and the recovery of their communities. We pledge our solidarity in providing and being a network for support and rescue in how to respond, recover and emerge from such devastation. We provide these guidelines that can be used by cultural heritage responders and affected citizens alike. Do reach out to your local ICOM/ICOM-CC network and we will be sure to provide advice in your own language. Please go to our ICOM-CC website for downloads on Cultural Heritage recovery for water damaged objects in English, German, Chinese. Additional languages will be added as developed.
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The ICOM General Conference, Prague 20-28 August 2022

One year prior to ICOM’s General Conference an International Symposium is held at the same venue to launch the themes that will be addressed at one of the biggest cultural heritage events held triennially. ICOM’s General Conference is a worldwide reputed hub for exchange about the topical issues museums tackle today and the most innovative solutions.

This year the Prague International Symposium (2021) introduced the four themes that the 26th ICOM General Conference will address:

- Purpose: Museums and the Civil Society

- Sustainability: Museums and resilience

- Vision: Museum and leadership

- Delivery: Museums and new technologies

ICOM-CC participated in the hybrid International Symposium. Directory Board members attended in-person and online. Live events were organised to promote discussion between International Committee representatives to foster collaboration and joint themed sessions at next year’s conference. ICOM-CC aims to link with our partners in the Solidarity Project: Training the Trainers: Facilitated Workshops to train leaders in Conservation Risk Assessment and ICOM-Japan. An additional independent session will also be organised together with our Prague hosts and partners, the National Gallery of Prague, at their venue, the Convent of St Agnes. We will spend the next few months developing a programme for our sessions at the Prague General Conference. As some programming will be broadcast online, we aspire to reach all of our members across the globe next summer! Museums have the power to make the world a better place!
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