That attack prompted the Archaeological Institute of America and several other cultural heritage organizations to issue a statement last week expressing dismay about the loss of human lives and the threat to heritage in Egypt.
In spite of the shocking first aspect of destruction inside and outside, the mission was pleased to record that the structural stability of the building seems not endangered. However, serious damage was recorded to the coating of the outside façade and almost all exhibition halls of both institutions, as well as to the skylights of the roof.
First emergency work is required to cover the roof and the windows, in order to make the building waterproof to avoid further damage in case of rainfall. It is also urgent to check and remove [the] loose decoration panels on the top of the facade, which could fall down and injure people walking in the street in front of the building.
In the Islamic Museum, all showcases and display facilities have been destroyed. 161 objects have been either totally destroyed or so seriously damaged that their restoration will require many years and substantial funding. In particular the precious glass collection, including 9 important lamps from Mosques of which some go back to [the] 9th century has been reduced to rubble, which is being collected and sorted by the staff of the museum, even if at the moment there is no method to restore them.
Also the ceramic objects have been strongly damaged. The wood objects collection, in particular two unique carved old Mihrabs are already under restoration. The metal collections are only slightly damaged, and can be restored rather quickly by the museum’s staff.
Fortunately, the conservation laboratories and store-rooms which are mostly in the underground or on the backside of the building are not or only very slightly damaged, they can now entirely be used to safe keep and restore the collections.
As for the Archive Museum of the National Library at Bab el Khalq, all showcases are smashed, however only [a] few manuscripts and books are damaged, mainly by water from the broken water supply and from glass dust. Most of this damage can be rather easily cleaned and restored, but also this will take many months of work.
This post is researched, written, and published on the blog Cultural Heritage Lawyer Rick St. Hilaire at culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.com. Text copyrighted 2010-2014 by Ricardo A. St. Hilaire, Attorney & Counselor at Law, PLLC. Any unauthorized reproduction or retransmission of this post is prohibited. CONTACT INFORMATION: www.culturalheritagelawyer.com