ICOMSecretariat and ICOM Disaster Relief For Museums Task Force (DRFM) have immediately reacted to the Haiti earthquake and were extremely busy in seeking direct or indirect information about museums in Haiti. As every other NGO, ICOM faced enormous difficulties in getting reliable information directly from Haiti. Particular helpful were the nearby ICOM National Committee of the Dominican Republic and the Museum Association of the Caribbean (MAC).
Based on a list of Haiti museums (2008), we know of 14 institutions in the earthquake region: 4 museums open to the public, 6 museum projects with valuable collections and 4 other museum projects.
On ICOM website you will find a regularly updated “Status Report” in three languages:
On the special Haiti webpage you may read details about museum colleagues, museum buildings and collections. We have received pictures from the Parc historique de la Canne à sucre museum. You can find them here:
On the initiative of ICOM Haiti, a crisis unit “Patrimoine en Danger” has been established to co-ordinate support activities and take the most urgent actions. A list of urgent demand has been compiled and is under study.
Most important is the quick salvage of collections from collapsed or unstable buildings, because the rain season is expected latest by March. With only two appointed architects to evaluate the damage to the public buildings, our colleagues in Haiti stress that they need foreign experts of building static. Additional security measures are a common need as well, because the ordinary ones are disrupted or weakened.
There had been promising talks between ICOM DG Julien Anfruns and Alain Godonou, new Director of the Division of Cultural Objects and Intangible Heritage at UNESCO, concerning
– needs of a UN embargo on Haitian cultural goods to avoid (or reduce) art trafficking
– protection of damaged sites in the meantime (“cordon de sécurité”)
– search for storage places
– preparation of a better coordination with various entities UNESCO/Heritage NGOs …
BLUE SHIELD, was very active, too. It acted from the beginning as co-ordinator between ICA, IFLA, ICOMOS, CCAAA and ICOM. We also are exchanging all news that our different missions in Haiti get. The International Committee has edited a statement:
The Association of the national committees has created web 2.0 tools for heritage assistance:
1) a special web site in English, French and Spanish, where volunteers may apply online: “Haiti 2010 Blue Shield Solidarity”.
About 450 volunteers have already joined! This initiative is based on the great success last year, when two BLUE SHIELD teams assisted the collapsed Cologne City Archive; more than 100 international volunteers took part at the two “international weeks”.
2) This website is accompanied by the “Haiti 2010 Blue Shield Solidarity” group on Facebook with more than 800 members. This is the best information source for Haiti heritage damage:
3) On Twitter you will find “Blueshieldcoop”:
General Web link:
On January 16th, UNOSAT has published a satellite analysis of 110 major public buildings in Port-au-Prince – more than half of them are destroyed or damaged
Dr. Stefan Sommer
Director, Colorado Plateau Biodiversity Center, http://www.mpcer.nau.edu/cpbc
Executive Producer, A River Reborn, http://www.mpcer.nau.edu/riverreborn
Faculty Advisor, Grand Canyon SEEDS Chapter, http://www.mpcer.nau.edu/seeds
Board of Directors, Assoc. of College & University Museums & Galleries, http://www.acumg.org
Faculty, Department of Biological Sciences
Northern Arizona University
Campus Box 5640
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
O: (928) 523-4463
F: (928) 523-7500