Solidarity with University Museums and Collections in Beirut

News et message from Universeum Board

Dear Colleagues,

Together with the members of the Βoard of UNIVERSEUM, I would like to express our deepest sympathy and support to our Lebanese colleagues who suffered a terrible tragedy last week in Beirut. As you may know following the news, this double blast killed hundreds and injured thousands of people. The material damages have also been tremendous causing a catastrophe of unprecedented scale for the Libanese people. 
Some of you may have met Gilbert Nicolas, a Lebanese colleague who attended the Conference on university museum organized by our colleagues in Liège last autumn and sponsored by UMAC and Universeum. Marta Lourenco, Chair of UMAC, and I are in regular contact with him to report on the situation of University museums and collections in Beirut. A first testimony is available on UMAC-You tube and more will follow.

ICOM has also created a task force to help museums in Beirut, lead by the Chair of ICOM Lebanon, Suzy Hakimyan (, Gilbert Nicolas is part of it.
Two universities mainly,
 the American University of Beirut,, and the Université Saint-Joseph suffered tremendous damage, as well as some faculties of the Lebanese University. The damages affect all university infrastructure, partly also museum premises and collections. A precise assessment is under way but in any case the security of the collections is of great concern as, shelters, windows and doors were shattered by the blast.

It is important that each of us alert his/her university’s authorities of the situation of our Lebanese colleagues and that support and help is provided if possible wether technical and financial or by sending lettres of support. You may contact directly our colleague Gilbert Nicolas, to get practical information.

With our thoughts and hearts in Lebanon, we send you our best wishes,

Sébastien Soubiran on behalf of the Board of UNIVERSEUM

You tube live

Friday, 14 August 2020

12:00 Paris Time

Elsa Urtizverea, Heritage Protection Coordinator at the ICOM Secretariat in Paris just returned from Beirut. She visited museums in the explosion impact zone, met with ICOM Lebanon, museum professionals and cultural heritage officials.
She shares her first hand impressions and explains the next steps for the international recovery efforts.

Museums and collections in Beirut in the aftermath of the 04.08.2020 explosion