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October 30, 2020

ICOM Webinar | Emergency Management for Museums: focus Lebanon

When the blast at Beirut’s port ravaged the Lebanese capital on August 4, ICOM was able to provide immediate support thanks to its Emergency response protocol and the reactivity of local and international partners

Museum professionals are by necessity the first responders when emergency situations threaten collections, and it is imperative for them to understand the risks and how to contribute to planning at their own institutions. The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated these already pressing issues, forcing many museums to close their doors or to work with very limited staff.

Three months after the Beirut double explosion, ICOM chose this topic as the centre of the discussion for the third webinar of our Capacity Building Series, that will take place on the 4th of November, 16:00 Paris time (GMT+1).

This webinar will gather museum professionals from different countries to review: fundamentals of emergency planning, including preparedness, identification of key players, risk assessment, collection prioritization and other preparations will be discussed. Special attention will be given to the situation in Beirut, Lebanon, whose museums were severely affected on 4 August.

The webinar will be streamed, with simultaneous translation in French, English and Spanish.


The organisation of this project has been possible thanks to the support of the French Ministry of Culture.


Marta C. Lourenço is the director of the National Museum of Natural History and Science of the University of Lisbon. She is the national coordinator of PRISC (Portuguese Research Infrastructure of Scientific Collections) and, since 2016, Chair of ICOM International Committee for University Museums and Collections (UMAC). During the webinar she will speak about the added value of volunteers in an emergency situation.

Samuel Franco Arce is the Director of Casa K’ojom and of the Cultural Rescue Center in Antigua, Guatemala, and a member of ICOM DRMC. With an extensive experience as Cultural First Aider/Videographer, he also works as a trainer on ICCROM’s First Aid to Cultural Heritage and SOIMA courses. During the ICOM webinar he will provide participants with an introduction on emergency management: before, during & after the crisis.

Suzy Hakimian worked as conservator at the Beirut National Museum from 1991 to 2009. She coordinated the restoration of the museum including the digitisation of the inventory and the setting up of the permanent collection. In 2010, she took charge of the creation of the MiM mineral museum in Beirut of which she is currently the curator. Her presentation will focus on the heritage protection experience gained by Lebanese professionals during the war, and how this was helpful in reacting promptly to the explosion.

Elsa Urtizverea is the Heritage Protection Coordinator at ICOM since 2019. Her intervention during the webinar will present a report on ICOM mission to Lebanon, the collaboration with ALIPH and other parties, and the future role of ICOM in the rehabilitation efforts.

The presentations will be introduced by a welcome speech by Diana Pardue, chair of the IC Disaster Resilience for Museums, on behalf of the Committee.

After the interventions of the speakers, Anette Hansen, chair of ICMS, will deliver a final reflection on the presentations and the role of ICMS.


Hanna Pennock worked in several museums as a researcher, exhibition coordinator, and curator, after which she served as Inspector of the National collections in the country’s privatised State museums. For six years she was member of the Executive Council of ICOM, as well as Board member of ICOM’s International Committee on Museum Security. She is currently Senior Advisor and Project Manager at the Cultural Heritage Agency in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, and Chair of the ICOM Standing Committee for Disaster Risk Management.