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Museums Emergency Programme

Hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, fire, outbreaks of war are threatening the natural and cultural heritage worldwide.






The International Council of Museums serves society and its development and is committed to guaranteeing the protection, conservation and transfer of cultural goods. In the framework of its mission, ICOM designed the Museums’ Emergency Programme-MEP, a forward planning and emergency intervention programme designed for museum professionals and experts in emergency-related fields (firemen, relief agencies…).

The Getty Conservation Institute and ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) took part in this programme and helped develop training tools for MEP. ICOM’s action programme offers a long-term global response that strengthens the International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) dynamism.

Publication: Cultural Heritage Disaster Preparedness and Response


Each part of the world has its own specificities; therefore, the Museums’ Emergency Programme adapts to the needs of every local population. It is about studying the environment and collaborating with museum professionals to design the most efficient intervention strategy to overcome a potential disaster.

The Museums’ Emergency Programme embraces the whole risk management process with continuous learning as its objective.


Because of an educational approach that alternates theoretical notions (collecting information, publications and bibliographies) and practical studies (simulation…), ICOM Secretariat experts can coordinate the action programme with the National Committees.

During the training, the beneficiaries of the Museums’ Emergency Programme think about how to implement preventive measures adapted to their situation. Everything is designed in complete respect of local traditions and know-how and with the intention of implicating the locals.


One of the key factors of the Museums’ Emergency Programme lies in the implementation of regional networks which, in crisis situations, will allow the implementation of common risk management strategies. This programme aims to provide to the participants the means to ensure coordination of both specialized professional organisations and relief agencies in situ.

The Museums’ Emergency Programme was implemented in Southeast Asia (2005) and in the Balkans (2006).

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