UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

11/28/2022 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/28/2022 10:33

In Odesa, UNESCO supports cultural institutions to protect cultural heritage

Cultural institutions across Ukraine are in need of support to prevent and minimize the impact of the war on the culture sector. In Odesa, this need is urgent.
Audrey AzoulayUNESCO Director-General

Culture has been greatly impacted by the ongoing war in Ukraine. As of 16 November 2022, UNESCO has verified damages to 216 cultural sites across the territory of Ukraine.

In partnership with the local non-governmental organization Museum for Change, UNESCO is working to safeguard Odesa's cultural heritage. With funding from the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund (HEF), UNESCO has provided support for the delivery of equipment, the protection of public monuments, the marking of cultural sites with the Blue Shield emblem and the digitalization of museum inventories and archives. Through this project, the roof and windows of the Odesa Fine Arts Museum, which were damaged as a result of the war, have been also repaired.

Reinforcing Odesa's preparedness

Since the outbreak of the war, cultural intuitions in Ukraine have gone to extraordinary lengths to protect cultural sites and objects. Yet more support is needed. UNESCO ensured that materials such as fire extinguishers, wooden shields and gas masks, in addition to critical equipment to protect sites against the consequences of fire and explosions, were purchased for cultural institutions and delivered to the local authorities in Odesa.


Protecting vulnerable cultural sites and objects

To mitigate the risk of further damage to cultural sites in Odesa, UNESCO, in consultation with the conservators from the National Conservation Center of Ukraine and in close partnership with local authorities, supported the protection of five public monuments from the effects of possible explosions and damage.

Over 50 cultural sites were marked with the Blue Shield emblem, which helps facilitate identification of cultural sites via a distinctive marking created by the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict


Repairing damages in view of the upcoming winter

The glass roof of the Odesa Museum of Fine Arts, which was damaged as a result of the conflict, was carefully repaired, respecting its original design from the early twentieth century. It was also reinforced to prevent any further damage.


Digitising inventories and collections

80 recently discovered works by the prominent Ukrainian modernist artist Mikhail Zhuk, a central artistic figure and founder of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts, have been digitized and over 1000 electronic inventory cards of the Odesa Fine Arts Museum were created and included in an online database dedicated to art collections.

Support was also provided to the Odesa State Archives to accelerate the digitization of its documentary heritage.

UNESCO will continue scale up its support to other cultural institutions to protect cultural heritage across the country. Since the outbreak of the war, UNESCO has engaged in key emergency response measures to safeguard cultural heritage and support artists and culture professionals, working alongside the Ukrainian authorities and its international partners.

UNESCO wishes to thank the donors of the Heritage Emergency Fund: the Qatar Fund for Development, the Government of Canada, the Kingdom of Norway, the French Republic, the Principality of Monaco, ANA Holdings INC, the Republic of Estonia, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Slovak Republic, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Principality of Andorra, and the Republic of Serbia.