On March 22nd a 5.4 magnitude earthquake, the strongest in this area in the last 140 years, struck the area surrounding the Croatian capital of Zagreb, causing widespread damage in the city and its surroundings, including museums.
This disaster comes at a time when the country, and the whole world, is already being challenged by the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic: ICOM shares the grief of all Croatians so deeply affected by the earthquake, and for the death of a 15-year-old girl.
Most of museums situated in the centre of Zagreb have suffered damage during the earthquake, with some buildings deemed no longer statically safe. The Museum of Arts and Crafts, the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts and the Contemporary Art Museum are the institutions that were most affected by the earthquake, reporting serious damage to both artworks and buildings. Croatian cultural institutions published photographs which testify the consequences of the quake and museums professional are reporting on the situation of their museums. However, the full extent of the damage is yet to be assessed.
ICOM is working with its Croatian National Committee and the Regional Alliance of South East Europe to support Croatian colleagues in their efforts to assess the damage to local museums and to find the best way to support them in their reconstruction and repair efforts.
Taking into account the current sanitary situation at national and international levels, ICOM urges municipalities, the Croatian ministry of culture and international organizations to come together to help the Croatian population and museum professionals, gathering human, financial and technical resources to support them in this difficult moment.
ICOM Secretariat as well as the International Committee on Disaster Resilient Museums are mobilized and committed to help their Croatian colleagues. If you can offer help, please get in touch with the Croatian committee, or contact the ICOM Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover photo: (c) Art Pavillon Zagreb