About RE-ORG

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Background

In 2007, UNESCO forged a three-year partnership with ICCROM for the “Preventive Conservation of Endangered Museum Collections in Developing Countries.”  The focus of this partnership was on the documentation of collections and access to storage in museums. It was felt that these two issues required stronger political support and the major involvement of decision-makers at both institutional and professional levels. ICCROM responded by developing didactic tools and methodologies, and by creating international networks. RE-ORG is the end result of this partnership.

Rationale

ICCROM has been involved in developing and implementing preventive conservation courses and projects for many years and in a variety of contexts. Thanks to this experience, ICCROM has refined and enlarged the notion of preventive conservation and produced teaching materials and teacher training methods, in collaboration with a number of partner institutions. ICCROM firmly believes in the importance of making museums with lesser resources benefit from this experience and these materials.

Smaller institutions in developing countries and beyond continue to struggle with poor resources and limited access to expert advice. Although the available literature has increased and much is today accessible on the internet, the proposed methodologies and tools do not respond adequately to the needs of smaller institutions, often faced with situations that have accumulated and worsened with time. Missions undertaken by ICCROM and UNESCO, combined with consultation and sample surveys, have demonstrated the need to motivate and build the capacity of those smaller institutions to improve the conditions and use of their collections.

UNESCO has been developing and carrying out a variety of operational projects in the area of collections preservation and museum management, especially in developing countries. In 2006, following a reorganization of the Culture Sector, UNESCO’s Director-General created a new Museum Section, which among other activities, is in charge of the “Programme for the Preservation of Endangered Movable Cultural Properties and Museum Development”.

In the last 25 years, the number of museums and the size of collections have been growing rapidly while resources are spread more and more thinly. In developing countries, for many museums the situation is overwhelming, with often no access to the network of resources and expertise which exist in other countries.

Objectives

UNESCO and ICCROM wish to combine their know-how, experience and networks in order to contribute significantly to museum capacity in ensuring conservation and access to their collections. In particular, UNESCO and ICCROM identified the following key areas:

Documentation systems

Improve museum skills and provide tools to analyze improve and update their documentation system in order to facilitate the museum activities of conservation, research and education, as well as to prevent theft and illicit traffic.

Museum storage

Improve museum skills and provide tools to analyze and improve conditions of collections in storage in order to ensure their long-term conservation and use.

 

RE-ORG UNESCO ICCROM

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