Ukrainian heritage under greater threat with increased violence and approaching difficult winter months.
The International alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas (ALIPH) announced today a $1 million commitment by the J. Paul Getty Trust to support the protection of Ukraine’s cultural heritage.
The grant is part of ALIPH’s existing Ukrainian Action Plan, which to date has committed $3 million to support projects to protect museums, libraries, archives, and historic sites, and assist the heritage professionals caring for them.
Since the beginning of the war in early 2022, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has verified damage to 204 Ukrainian sites, including places of worship, museums, historic buildings, cultural centers, monuments, and libraries. Winter weather and the energy crisis now pose new threats to collections that can become endangered when stored in damp conditions and freezing temperatures, as well as damaged building and monuments exposed to the elements.
Cherkasy Regional Art Museum, Cherkasy, June 2022 - Image © Svitlana Strielnikova
“The ongoing need to protect cultural heritage in Ukraine has become even more urgent in recent weeks, as attacks in the region are increasing and the onset of winter is creating additional risks,” says Valéry Freland, executive director of ALIPH. “This new funding will help cultural heritage professionals face the many challenges ahead.”
Getty’s grant will support the improvement of the security of museum collections; the upgrade to some large storage spaces across the country; the deployment of preventive conservation measures for key sites and monuments; and the preparation of stabilization and conservation measures.
“ALIPH’s approach to cultural heritage protection is proven and effective, and our partnership with them allows us to join international efforts to protect Ukrainian heritage,” says Katherine Fleming, president and CEO of the Getty Trust.
ALIPH’s support has allowed over 160 collections in Ukraine to be packed and stored, including priceless examples of folk art, religious icons, and archaeological artifacts; 3D scanning of major monuments and cultural heritage sites in danger of destruction; and the securing of archives and conservation facilities. Its model relies on cooperation with Ukrainian heritage professionals who deliver reports from the ground on the most urgent needs and the means to deliver effective support.
Additional Ukrainian Action Plan partners include the European Union, the Principality of Monaco, and all ALIPH Members—both public and private.
Zhytomyr Regional Museum of Local Lore, 13.06.2022. Image © NRRC - Photographer
Saint Joan of Myrrh Church, Kharkiv, damaged during shelling of the city. Image © Emmanuel Durand