Protective measures for cultural property
- Inventory (Confederation, Cantons, Municipalities)
- Documentation e. g. Microfilms (Cantons)
- Description (Municipalities)
- Shelters (Confederation, Cantons, Municipalities)
- Organisation / Personal training
Article 2 of the Ordinance of 17 October 1984 on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, in the version of 19 October 1994, states that cultural property can he classified according to the following four categories:
- Cultural property of international importance (AA)
- Cultural property of national importance (A)
- Cultural property of regional importance (B)
- Cultural property of local importance (C).
On 15 February 1995 the Swiss federal government approved the revised Swiss Inventory of Cultural Property of National and Regional Importance, which replaces the list of 1988. This was drawn up or revised by the cantons in close cooperation with the Swiss Committee for the Protection of Cultural property.
In the future, the Inventory will be updated every 10 years, i,e. items will be eliminated or added, or moved from one category to another. In the first revision some 200 cultural iterns were upgraded from the "regional importance" to the "national importance" category. A further 600 objects were added to the latter category at the same time, while 24 were removed, having been burned down, destroyed in some other way, or heavily modified in the meantime.
At the request of the Swiss federal government, distinctive emblems for cultural property under protection have been placed on various buildings of national importance (general protection). Items marked with this emblem enjoy special protection that can be waived only in exceptional circumstances, namely in cases of military necessity, and only for the period that the object is required for military purposes.
Inventory of cultural property
- 1647 Cultural Property of national importance in 677 municipalities
- 6617 Cultural Property of regional importance in 1918 municipalities
- ???? Cultural Property of local importance in every Swiss municipality
The purpose of documentation for the safeguarding of cultural property is to make it possible either to restore or rebuild cultural property that has been damaged or destroyed, with the help of a documentation that has been prepared in advance and maintained as complete as possible. If for any reason it is either not possible or not desirable to carry out restoration or reconstruction, the documentation will nonetheless serve as a valuable scientific record and testament.
Depending on the type, circumstances, condition, material, rarity, etc. the following documentation will he helpful:¨
- Descriptions, drawings, sketches
- Photogrammetric views
- Copies, duplicates, moulded reproductions etc.
Such records should also be kept on microfilm if possible, Microfilms take up little room, are relatively inexpensive and have a long life if properly developed and stored. The Confederation keeps positive copies of such microfilms at its own expense in the microfilm archives of Heimiswil in the Emmental, The owners of the cultural property or those in possession of same should store the originals in a separate place for their protection. In the case of cultural properties of national and regional importance, the relevant documentation for safeguarding is prepared by the cantons, with the financial support of the Swiss government. It is the duty of the local authorities to see to the documentation for cultural property that is of local importance.
Organisation / personal training
Staff entrusted with the protection of cultural property should above all be recruited among professionals employed by museums, libraries, archives, restorers, workshops, etc. At the very least the management functions should be in the hands of people with the requisite know-how. In the area of civil protection the cultural property protection staff will attend an initial enlistment briefing. This will cover the preparations necessary for the training of staff in their specific duties in relation to the protection of cultural property, by means of one or more courses. Training will be carried out both by the Confederation and the cantons, Staff involved in the protection of cultural property have the same rights as all other civil protection staff (pay, employment compensation, insurance, reduction of military duty, etc.). Staff assigned to the protection of cultural property will wear a special armband and carry identification when on active duty, They are under the protection of international law, i.e. in the event of occupation they will be expceted to continue looking after the cultural property entrusted to their care.¨
- Art Historian
- Employee of a museum, a library or an archive
- Chief of service
- Good organizer
- Experienced in leadership
- Expert knowledge
- Refuges intended to shelter movable cultural property
There are two kinds of shelters for cultural property: Standardised shelters especially designed for the protection of valuable cultural property and auxiliary shelters.
These consist of underground spaces and include old civil protection shelters, underground car parks, and cellars, which - although they may not have been originally intended as shelters for cultural property - have been chosen because they are nonetheless able to offer relatively good protection. Each local authority keeps a record of these in readiness for the eventuality that cultural properties may need to be transferred there for protection.
Standardised shelters for movable cultural property are to be built in all cases where no other completely safe and secure solution can be found. These will be built as close as possible to the cultural property requiring protection, so that the shelters may also be used for the storage of cultural property even in normal times, for a variety of reasons, The purpose is not to protect every single possible item of cultural property. Those in possession of cultural properties must themselves decide which are the most valuable and in need of protection, preparing at the same time a plan for their eventual removal to safety. The information in this plan will help to determine the size of the shelter that needs to be built.
It is important to be able to maintain suitable physical conditions (15o and 50% relative humidity) in all shelters for movable cultural property, This makes it possible to keep them in storage even for long periods of time, without harm.
Protective measures for immovable cultural property
Measures of a constructional nature for the protection of immovable cultural property are costly in terms of material, time and personnel. The goal must be to achieve the best possible result at an acceptable price, ensuring protection against shrapnel, flying debris and fire. All measures contemplated should he discussed with the experts, i.e. engineers, architects, firefighters, building specialists, etc. As far as possible all the materials necessary should be made ready well in advance, i.e. in peacetime. Without wishing to fundamentally call into question the advantages of measures of a constructional nature, it is worth pointing out at this stage that even with great expenditure it is not possible to obtain absolute protection for immovable cultural property, and indeed that the documentation for the safeguarding of cultural properties described under the heading "Documentation for the safeguarding of cultural property" is the most essential protective measure that can be taken in this context.
The planning of implementation is a measure that enables staff in charge of cultural property to perform the following tasks:
- To systematically prepare in peacetime inventories of cultural properties to be protected in the event of armed conflict
- To apply these measures without delay according to a prearranged plan in the event of a real emergency.
The cornerstone of this implementation planning is the preparation of inventories. The archives of the municipalities should not be overlooked. The following matters will need clarification in this context:
- What institutions or individuals serve as repositorics for archives?
- What locations are in use as archives?
Once inventories have been prepared and the necessary measures decided, all essential data must be recorded on special forms prepared for this purpose. Such data as:
- Who is in possession, the address where the object is to be found
- Category, designation
- Proposed measures
- Documentation for safeguarding item - does it exist already, and if not who is responsible for its preparation
- Persons responsible for implementation of protective measures
- Time, staffing and material requirements, quantities, etc.
- Detailed information including such things as dismantling instructions.
The planning of implementation must be carried out in collaboration with those in possession of the cultural property, and must address the following questions:
- Is the present place of storage safe enough?
- Are there currently more appropriate places of storage available, or might there be in cases of emergency?
The necessary data can for the most part be gathered during the basic training or refresher courses. The planning of implementation will help to shed light on the staffing and technical requirements. Planning must also determine the degree of collaboration with other civil protection units. It would be advisable to include the fire brigade and/or police in the planning at an early stage so that in the event of theft, fire or other incidents involving damage, appropriate measures can be taken. The planning of implementation will serve as a guide for those in charge of implementation and as a planning and management instrument at higher levels.