Solidarity With Ukraine and Support For the Preservation of the Cultural Heritage of the People of Ukraine
At a meeting on 3 March 2022, the presidents of Hungary's four national professional associations of museums and public collections expressed their deep concern about the military offensive launched against Ukraine on 24 February 2022 and the widespread military operations that have continued since then, with serious consequences for the civilian population. Solidarity with Ukraine and support for the preservation of the cultural heritage of the people of Ukraine. Solidarity with Ukraine and support for the preservation of the cultural heritage of the people of Ukraine. According to the news, we find that, as a result of the war, in addition to the events tragically affecting the population, the institutions and buildings of culture, the cultural goods preserved in them and the staff caring for them were also seriously endangered. We are convinced that the culture of a nation is part of the culture of the world, and that the losses and damages caused are fatal not only for Europe but for the whole world.
The organisations strongly urge Russia to respect the 1954 Hague Convention, the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which Russia has ratified and is obliged to follow and comply with in order to protect the cultural heritage.
In our declaration, we make joint recommendations to museums, libraries, archives and everyone feeling responsibility for cultural heritage,and initiate the active involvement of public collections in alleviating the crisis.
We call on the institutions, their managers and staff keeping objects of historical interest to use their own means and possibilities. to do their utmost to save the public collections, libraries, archives and cultural heritage sites in Ukraine, including the collections and the relevant digital contents, as well as the professionals working in these institutions.
We would also like to draw the attention of all the civilians, including those, who do not work in public collections to the fact that in case of further escalation of the war the risk of damage to collections, loss of collections may increase, in addition of them getting unauthorisedly in private ownership. If you see any signs of this, please report it to the relevant authorities in the major public collections.
Many of our institutions have signed up as collection points for donations and their staff is actively involved in this work. It is also possible to join other collection points with donations, taking volunteer organising activity or other work, and to keep track of what help is needed and adapt their activities flexibly to current needs.
The heads of museums, libraries and archives should, if necessary, provide a place for the collected donations, really important for the refugees, where these items can be temporarily stored, grouped, sorted and packaged according to age groups. The assistance should include volunteer work or the collection of items to facilitate the refugees' travel or to provide them with living conditions in their temporary accommodation. Institutions should contact professional fundraising organisations and coordinate their assistance activities with them.
Museums should offer their guest rooms for temporary accommodation. .
The managers should seek opportunities with their conservators to use the special resources of the institution to assist in charity activities in favour of the receivers, the caregivers and all those facilitating this activity
The museum’s managers should contact the Ukrainian museums in their respective field of expertise, which have or have not yet been affected by the military operations, and help them to answer their professional questions, which can also help to preserve and save the collections as well as the temporary maintenance of their digital contents.
The museum should organise special programs in its locality, in its building, or in its surroundings, which help the newcomers to cope with the radical change in their life situation, especially for mothers and grandparents with children.
The managers and the staff should provide assistance for the refugees with the museum's resources, even though by mentoring, to settle down, find a job that matches their qualifications, and thus earn a decent income, and reduce the language difficulties of those who speak only Ukrainian. In this way, they can return to their homeland with good memories after the peace will be reestablished, which we all strongly hope.
The managers of museums and public collections should take advantage of opportunities to help their own staff to deal with the current situation and to provide quality professional and supportive services. –
In the future, professionals should organise educational sessions - in particular for children - to deal with the trauma they have suffered or to reduce their backlog at school.
Museums should provide free admission for war-refugees from Ukraine.
Colleagues - exclusively with the consent of the people concerned - should document and archive in their museums - the local events and personal stories related to war, escape and reception of the refugees.
Museum professional organisations should initiate cooperation with national professional organisations in the sphere of public collections in order to coordinate their activities and support each other's work and share their experiences and results.
The organisations continuously monitor the positions of ICOM (International Council of Museums) and NEMO (Network of Museum Organisations) as well as international public collection organisations and inform their membership of their own organisation.
They work closely with international organisations for joint action and regularly report on their activities through their communication networks.
Szentendre 04.March 2022.
Ibolya Bereczki PhD Zsolt Sári PhD
Pulszky Society – Hungarian Museum Association ICOM – International Council of Museums – Hungary
Csaba Szabó PhD Andrea Csapláros PhD
Association of National Public Association of Hungarian
Collections Country Museums