Emergency preparedness and recovery

Authored by: Rustin Levenson

Conservation of Easel Paintings

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367023799
eBook ISBN: 9780429399916
Adobe ISBN:


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There has been a long and tragic history of destruction of cultural property by man and by nature. Since a papal decree of the thirteenth century threatening any soldier from the Third Crusade who damaged the historic city of Constantinople with excommunication, there have been various efforts to protect works of art and historic structures from harm during civil and natural disasters. In the twentieth century, the destruction of historic objects of the First World War led to the formation of the International Museum Office of the League of Nations in 1927. In 1946 this organisation was superseded by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) (see also Section 49.1.2 in Chapter 49). The United Nations Education, Cultural, and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) was also formed in 1946. Part of the mission of both organisations focused on researching and disseminating information concerning the protection and care of cultural property in civil and natural disasters. At the end of the twentieth century, five international organisations joined to form the ‘Blue Shield’, an international committee charged with protecting the world’s cultural heritage: the ICA (the International Council on Archives), the IFLA (the International Federation of Library Associations), ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and Sites), CCAAA (the Co-coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations), and ICOM. Blue Shield (https://ifla.org/node/7609) describes itself at the cultural equivalent of the Red Cross. The vital network formed by these organisations advises and assists in preparations for and responses to emergencies.

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