Stabilisation of damaged heritage in Odesa underway with EU support
July 28, 2023

Stabilisation of damaged heritage in Odesa underway with EU support

In response to the recent and ongoing Russian attacks on Odesa, which have had a particularly disastrous impact on the city’s rich cultural heritage, the ALIPH Foundation (the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas) and its local partners, with the financial support of the European Union, are already providing direct emergency aid to cultural institutions. 

This week, ALIPH amplified its support to protect Odesa’s cultural heritage by helping local professionals stabilise and conserve institutions impacted by the recent bombing. This work is being implemented by one of ALIPH’s longstanding partners in Ukraine, the local NGO Museum for Change

Since 23 July, the following measures have been taken: 

  • Installation of oriented strand boards (OSB) – shields to cover the windows and doors of four key museums in the city;
  • Emergency stabilisation and reinforcement of ceilings and roof, installation of OSB-shields for the windows as well as the packing of the broken porcelain collection of the Odesa House of Scientists, a historical building with an important collection of ceramics. Both the building and its collection were damaged by a direct hit on 23 July;
  • The establishment of an emergency fund so that Museum for Change can quickly respond to new threats, as they might emerge. This fund will also allow for the timely implementation of preventive actions, enabling local partners to adapt to the rapidly shifting situation. 

These critical efforts to safeguard Odesa’s unique cultural heritage and respond to the devastating shelling are made possible thanks to the support of the European Union. 

“The city of Odesa is a jewel in Ukraine’s rich tapestry of cultural heritage. The Russian attack against the historical city centre is heinous. The EU firmly believes that ALIPH’s first responders’ approach of supporting the assessment, triage, and stabilisation of cultural heritage and working with local experts and partners to implement projects quickly and efficiently is an effective method to protect this endangered patrimony under assault,” said Peter M. Wagner, Head of the European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments.

Just days after the full-scale war in Ukraine broke out in February 2022, ALIPH adopted a plan to protect the country’s exceptional heritage and quickly deployed its action on the ground. To-date, ALIPH has committed over €4.5 million in support to 320 organisations (museums, archives, libraries, conservation institutions, etc.). Out of these, the EU has contributed €2 million.

In Odesa, ALIPH has provided approximately €360,000 in assistance, reaching 21 cultural heritage institutions, including 11 museums, 1 archive, and 2 libraries. Several of ALIPH’s partners have generously contributed to many of these projects, including emergency storage for collections at the Odesa Fine Art Museum and the procurement of stocking materials for the archaeology museum of Odesa (funded by the Principality of Monaco), support to two libraries in Odesa (funded by the EU) and to the Odesa Regional Centre of Ukrainian Culture (funded by the Getty Foundation), among others.

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