EASTERN EUROPE – Are the old synagogues worth saving?


In 1989, Phyllis Myers traveled to Poland as Eastern Europe was emerging from Communist rule. The Jewish Heritage Council of the World Monuments Fund asked her to bring back information about the conditions of Jewish heritage, and to answer the question: Should the remaining synagogues and other buildings be restored? Why?

In this blog post, Jewish Heritage Europe revisits the question “Are the old synagogues of Eastern Europe worth saving” – and of course answers it, like Myers, with a resounding Yes.

The question seems commonplace today, given the extraordinary efforts in the past 25 years by growing numbers of people in and beyond Poland–scholars, foundations, officials, educators, conservators, museum professionals, travel companies, journalists, preservationists–whose impact on the revival of Jewish life and culture has surpassed what could have been imagined in 1989. While many difficult questions of funding, governance, ownership, priorities, and use remain in a country with so few Jews, the answer is, clearly, yes.


Read the full blog post and Myers’ article here.

GERMANY – 6-8 November, “European Trade Fair for Conservation” and FRH

From 6 to 8 November 2014, the European Trade Fair for Conservation, Restoration and Old Building Renovation will take place in Leipzig. The special focus will be “Historic Facades – Stucco. Plaster. Paint”.

The results of FRH’s international conference, which takes place in Halle between October 29 and November 1st, will be presented at the fair on Friday 7 November, 14:45-15:10, in Hall 2, IF14.

Find the press release below or read more about the Fair on the web site.

“Denkmal will be held for the 11th time on 6 to 8 November 2014 in Leipzig as the top European meeting point for the conservation, restoration and old building renovation industry. This unique trade fair features an interdisciplinary mix of exhibitors along with a top quality programme of events and features, including the 2014 special focus topic “Historic Facades – Stucco.Plaster.Paint.”. denkmal Project Director Kersten Bunke-Njengué comments, “We’re addressing a topic that is relevant throughout Europe and providing our trade fair visitors with the right platform for information and discussion”. Exhibitors can begin registering right away. Those registered by March 31st, 2014 additionally receive our Early-Bird Discount.

Since its premiere in 1994, the denkmal European Trade Fair for Conservation, Restoration and Old Building Renovation has been held every two years as the most important get-together for the interdisciplinary transfer of knowledge within our industry. The denkmal trade fair is distinguished by the outstanding quality of the products and services on offer, its vitality and the sophistication of its internationally-orientated events programme. denkmal covers topics such as skilled crafts for building conservation and restoration, construction and renovation materials, preservation and restoration materials, products and services from the segments preservation and repair, old building renovation, preservation and restoration of art and movable heritage, reconstruction, documentation and inventorying.

denkmal is under the patronage of UNESCO. As the leading European trade fair in this industry, denkmal is targeted at decision-makers, architects, planners, skilled labourers, historic conservation public authorities, conservators, owners of historic buildings, investors, private, communal and ecclesiastical contractors, historic conservation volunteers, interested private individuals and lovers of art and culture.

Central focus topic: “Historic Facades – Stucco.Plaster.Paint.”

Facades play a large role in determining the character of a building. They are its face and its protective shell at the same time. The gap between functionality and aesthetics represents a major challenge for historic conservation and old building renovation today.

denkmal Project Director Kersten Bunke-Njengué elaborates, “Numerous dimensions can be observed simultaneously with the special focus topic for the 2014 denkmal. For example, in addition to the restoration in and of itself, which returns the building to its former glory, the subject of the energy-related renovation of such buildings also plays a role here. There are other factors also on the agenda such as which stucco mortar to use, various plasters and paints and how to use them properly”.

This central focus topic is very multifaceted, making it ideal for the interdisciplinary character of denkmal as the industry’s leading European trade fair. This special topic will also receive an even greater focus in 2014 because it will be present in individual specialist sections of the exhibition and in the events programme. For instance, painters and plasterers will demonstrate their skills in designing and restoring historic facades, while numerous exhibitors will present the corresponding materials and tools.

The special FORUM “Historic Facades – Stucco.Plaster.Paint.” will provide daily lectures and presentations directly in the trade fair hall on current trends and developments.

Simultaneous with denkmal: The Lehmbau and MUTEC trade fairs enhance the overall range of goods and services on offer

Construction methods that are environmentally-friendly and save on resources are becoming increasingly important in today’s world. Like no other building material, earth and clay fulfil today’s ecological and economic requirements. This building material is enjoying a revival in popularity. This is because it is available in virtually unlimited quantity and features special properties. For instance, earth is a particularly good insulation material, since it can store heat.

denkmal 2014 will again run simultaneously with the MUTEC International Trade Fair for Museum and Exhibition Technology. This trade fair is aimed at operators of museums, collections and exhibition houses, foundations, associations and cultural facilities, as well as conservators, architecture firms and consultancy operations. MUTEC’s central trade fair topics are museum construction, museum technology and equipment, visitor service, media presentation, museum infrastructure, conservation, restoration and museum management.”



UK – Online courses in care of museum objects; collections; conservation | Jewish Heritage Europe


Via Jewish Heritage EuropeThe Museum of London is offering online courses on the care, conservation and preservation of collections and artifacts. 

From the Museum’s web site:

Conservators are able to use their specialist skills to stabilise fragile and deteriorating objects and carry out often painstakingly careful cleaning so that they can be put on display. (…)

An important part of our work is ‘collection care’, where we ensure that temperature, humidity, light, dust and pests levels in the displays and stores are carefully controlled. (…)

For distance self- learning, we have created a number of e-learning and self-assessment tools:

See more here.


ITALY – Seminar “Sacred Objects”, Oct. 3, Florence

The Lorenzo de’Medici Institute is organizing a seminar on ‘Sacred Objects in Sacred Collections’ as the second event in their Forum on Museums and Religion. Please find the invitation below, or dowload the PDF here: Sacred Objects Study Day

Sacred Objects in Sacred Collections:
The Museums of Florentine Religious Institutions and their Publics

Friday, 3 October 2014 – San Jacopo in Campo Corbolini, via Faenza 43, Florence

For the second event of our Forum on Museums and Religion, we propose a study day that addresses the particular issues associated with the conservation and display of collections of objects historically belonging to religious institutions—a natural segue from our first conference about religious institutions which are themselves visited as museums. Museums associated with religious institutions have a special mandate to maintain the profile of their institution as a whole and speak to members of their communities; yet, they frequently possess objects of great historical and aesthetic value which are of interest to a broader and possibly non-religious public. In some cases, these collections are overseen by non-religious institutions. As custodians of sacred objects of different natures and religious status’, are such institutions responsible for reinforcing the holy nature of their collections to their publics? If so, how can this best be done so as to invite deep a understanding of spiritual messages without appearing to proselytize? This study day investigates the means and difficulties in guaranteeing the survival and deep appreciation of such collections in the Florentine area though a series of talks and a roundtable discussion.

Conference Program:

9.00 Benvenuto – Il forum sui musei e la religione Prof. Maia Wellington Gahtan, Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici Prof. Anna Benvenuti, Università degli Studi di Firenze Prof. Rita Capurro, Università Politecnico di Milano

Keynote Mons. Timothy Verdon, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo – Grande Museo del Duomo.

10.15 Tavola rotonda Moderatore: Don Alfredo Jacopozzi, Responsabile culturale della diocesi

11.15 Caffè

11.30 Dott. Licia Bertani, Museo Diocesano di Santo Stefano al Ponte

12.00 Dott. Silvia Colucci, Museo Comunale di Santa Maria Novella & Santa Maria del Carmine

12.30 Dott. Fausta Navarro, Museo di San Salvi

13.00 Pranzo

14.30 Dott. Giuseppe De Micheli, Museo di Santa Croce

15.00 Dott. Antonio Godoli, Orsanmichele

15.30 Dott. Eleonora Mazzocchi, Istituto degli Innocenti

16.00 Visita al Museo del Tesoro di San Lorenzo in memoria di Mons. Fabrizio Porcinai

info: tel. 055 287360 | www.ldminstitute.com | myra.stals@lorenzodemedici.it Forum on museums and religion | Forum sui musei e la religione: Don Alfredo Jacopozzi, Responsabile culturale della diocesi)

FRANCE – Exhibition of Maurice Denis’ religious art


The exhibition “Beautés du Ciel, décors religieux de Maurice Denis au Vésinet” will be officially opened on September 23rd in the Museum Maurice Denis, and will be on show till January 4.

The exhibition showcases the successive steps the artist took in his religious decorative work (paintings, drawings, stained glass windows…) as well as illustrating the recent restoration of the workds of art via a video presentation.

For a list of concerts, guided tours and other activities surounding this exhibition, see Activities (in French).

SPAIN – First UNWTO International Congress on Tourism and Pilgrimages

“In light of the growing importance of pilgrimages and spiritual routes to tourism development around the world, UNWTO, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism of Spain and the Regional Government of Galicia are organizing the First International Congress on Tourism and Pilgrimages.

With this backdrop, the First International Congress on Tourism and Pilgrimages to take place in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, on 17-20 September 2014, aims to highlight the positive contributions of pilgrimages and spiritual routes to sustainable and responsible tourism, as well as the contribution of tourism to cultural understanding and the preservation of natural and cultural heritage related to ancient trails and sacred places.

”With their unique historical, cultural and natural features, pilgrimages represent vital opportunities to further strengthen tourism’s ability to foster intercultural dialogue and contribute to the protection of religious and spiritual sites,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

The Secretary of State for Tourism of Spain, Isabel Borrego, recalled that “the city of Santiago de Compostela is a reference for religious tourism in Spain. To visit its historic centre, a UNESCO Heritage Site, and walk the Santiago path are unique experiences. Spain has much to offer in terms of religious tourism”: Santiago, intense pilgrimages and religious celebrations, important monasteries and cathedrals and many religious festivities of great interest.”

According to UNWTO estimates, 300 to 330 million tourists visit the world´s key religious sites every year, making spiritual tourism a significant part of both domestic and international tourism.”

Read on here.

FRANCE – Students fundraising for heritage: Le Plus Grand Musée de France

Students from Le Plus Grand Musée de France, with their patron and FRH’s president Olivier de Rohan. © Le Plus Grand Musée de France

For ‘Le Plus Grand Musée de France’, a national fundraising campaign organised by the Junior Enterprise of the Ecole du Louvre under the tutelage of La Sauvegarde de l’Art Français, students identify the hidden art historical treasures of France’s churches and collect funds to restore and maintain them. The works of art are subsequently displayed in the community where they were found, based on the conviction that the enhancement of this heritage can have an important impact on the local dynamics.

Read the full article in French here.


POLAND – Seminar report: Managing Jewish Immovable Heritage


Opening session in the Tempel Synagogue of the Managing Jewish Immovable Heritage Conference. Photo © Krakow JCC

Between 23rd and 25th April 2013, the seminar ‘Managing Jewish Immovable Heritage in Europe’ took place in Krakow, Poland.  Photographs, a seminar report and other material are now available on the Jewish Heritage Europe web site. For a video impression, see below.


EU council meeting on religious heritage and intercultural dialogue

From the web site of Azernews:

Council of Europe exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue took place in Baku on September 1-2. The event continued with panel discussions on September 2.

The panel session on “The contribution of cultural heritage of a religious nature to intercultural dialogue and to the respect of the universal values defended by the Council of Europe” was held within the exchange meeting.

At the panel meeting held under moderating of President of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe Jean-Marie Heydt, the issue of impact of the religious heritage to the intercultural dialogue was discussed.

Professor of theology at the Aristotelian University of Greece Angeliki Ziaka and UNESCO Representative in Uzbekistan Krista Pikkat delivered some reports during the meeting.


It was noted that proposals in order to preserve and promote cultural heritage through the concept of the Member States of the Council of Europe have already been put forth. Member States undertaking the exchange of experience in the relevant field and joining the youth in this study are important factors.

UNESCO’s position related to the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage was also brought to the attention of the participants of the meeting. The participants noted the importance of the participation of people in the preservation of the global world. If to take into account the national and spiritual values ​​of the peoples, particularly their religious freedom, they may intensify their efforts in maintaining global peace.


View the full article here.