and natural disasters are a major threat to cultural
heritage. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, land
slides, volcanoes, wind effects, fires, war and
other disasters wreck havoc on the environment and
sometimes completely destroy entire areas of cultural
heritage, both "movable" and "unmovable".
Museums Emergency Programme (MEP) is to be considered
as a response to the needs expressed by museum professionals
all over the world to develop expertise in the areas
of emergency preparedness and response and is also
included within the framework of the concerns of
the International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS)
which was set up to facilitate international responses
to threats or emergencies with co-operation at global
The aim of the programme is to advance understanding and
awareness of the nature of disasters and how to limit and
contain damage through preventive conservation measures
and rapid intervention to save cultural heritage, with the
involvement of local communities and respect for local traditions,
techniques and know-how.
The Museums Emergency Programme is a long-term programme
divided into modules which can sometimes be considered as
processes run in parallel:
Module 2 International
Symposium on Cultural Heritage Disaster Preparedness
and Response (Nov. 2003)
3 Creation, Translation and diffusion of support/teaching
Cultural Heritage Disaster Preparedness and Response (International Symposium Proceedings, Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad, India, 23-27 November 2003)
Emergency Programme Education Initiative
5 Creation of Regional Networks
6 Launch of the Awareness and Fund Raising Campaign
first two modules have been financed by the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
of the Museums Emergency Programme (MEP)
involve museum professionals, establishing contacts between
them and with other relevant players (e.g. International
Committee of the Red Cross, Médecins sans Frontières)
that have been directly involved in disasters.
To create networks of these institutions and maintain
them as active forces.
To develop coordinated action with the above-mentioned
To identify key professionals (directly involved in disasters)
plus know-how, techniques, teaching materials, training
experience and feedback, which are often difficult to
access or retrieve.
To disseminate and pool information with other professionals
with various cultural backgrounds.
To emphasize cultural differences in the approach to risk
preparedness and response.
To adapt knowledge acquired to different geographic situations
To translate reference texts into as many languages as
needed and/or make available literature and other identified
use the ICOM network (currently c. 20 000 members) to
spread information on Risk Preparedness and Response.
Museum professionals and other professionals with links
to the programme, such as firemen and volunteers.
on-line MEP Bibliography CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS (pdf file)