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Subject: ICOM resolution on threats to museums

ICOM resolution on threats to museums

From: Hans-Christoph von Imhoff <xoph>
Date: Sunday, August 10, 2003
This ICOM resolution from the three ICOM National Committees
Austria, Germany and Switzerland is of particular importance and
should be well spread to all those responsible for heritage
collections worldwide. There is a German and French version
available. See also a new UNESCO declaration 32 C in preparation:
"Draft UNESCO Declaration concerning the intentional destruction of
Cultural Heritage", in this instance of the Cons DistList.

    ICOM--Lake Constance Symposium, Bregenz 2003

    Original text in German.
    English translation H.C. von Imhoff/NSP.

    Museums: greater threats, more protection

    The Members present of the National Committees of the
    International Council of Museums ICOM of the three countries
    Austria, Germany and Switzerland on the occasion of their
    triennial Lake Constance Symposium, held in Bregenz from May 19
    to 21, 2003, on the topic of "Threatened Museums: Natural

    On the basis of the research results here presented on these
    topics, observe that:

        *   the threat to museums by (natural) disaster, theft, war
            and terror is constantly increasing

        *   the participants are aware, from personal experience,
            that throughout the world the financial basis of museums
            as well as the number of their personnel has for some
            time been steadily reduced to an alarming and dangerous

        *   there is a tendency to automate prevention measures
            against all potential damage and its causes, in the hope
            of reducing personnel

        *   the contributions presented during the symposium showed
            clearly that security can only be improved if the museum
            staff is well trained, informed, educated and motivated
            and its security personnel form an integral part of the

    The participants of the Lake Constance Symposium 2003 therefore
    this day adopt the following resolution

       "The ever increasing threat to cultural heritage--unique and
        irreplaceable, also in its role as fundamental to
        identity--through theft, war, terror and (natural) disaster
        forces museums and other official public collections, to
        permanently update their security measures in an appropriate
        manner. It has to be realised that security in institutions
        is only as good as the motivation, education and training in
        this field of the whole staff and the quality and equipment
        of their security personnel. Specialists in the security and
        insurance fields, due to their long experience, have long
        been aware of this and insist on a permanent combination of
        human and automated surveillance. To increase security in an
        institution therefore means not only to acquire more and
        more modern automated, appropriate equipment but equally to
        reinforce its security personnel.

        The Participants of this Symposium therefore ask the people
        and authorities responsible for these institutions to
        support and accept well argued requests of museums and other
        public collections for increased security measures in line
        with the arguments made here. Otherwise, more damage and
        serious losses of our cultural heritage will be inevitable.
        The private and public sectors are urgently encouraged to
        disseminate information about security, and to communicate
        new developments on this topic regularly to all concerned."

    The National Committees of Austria, Germany and Switzerland
    Bregenz, 21 May, 2003

Hans-Christoph von Imhoff
31, Blvd. de Perolles
1700 Fribourg / Switzerland
+41 26 321 14 44
Fax: +41 26 321 14 40

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:20
                 Distributed: Thursday, August 14, 2003
                       Message Id: cdl-17-20-001
Received on Sunday, 10 August, 2003

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