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Subject: Flood damage in the Czech Republic

Flood damage in the Czech Republic

From: Walter Henry <consdist-request>
Date: Friday, August 30, 2002
The following appeared on ICOM-L and is reproduced here without the
knowledge or consent of the author

    Date: 29 Aug 2002
    From: Tlachova Katerina <katerina.tlachova [at] moravska-galerie__cz>

    As you may know from the media, a major part of the Czech
    Republic has recently been affected by heavy floods. There are
    serious problems, especially in Prague, north, south and west
    Bohemia; towns, villages, roads have suffered a lot. Although
    people's lives and homes are now the prime concern of everybody
    here, the time is coming to evaluate also the damage on cultural
    heritage--historical towns, chateaux, monuments, museums and
    collections--the losses are estimated in billions of Czech

    In Prague, buildings of the National Museum, the National
    Gallery, the Jewish Museum, the Kampa Museum and others were
    flooded; in the South-Bohemian town of Cesky Krumlov, listed in
    the UNESCO world heritage, the well-known Egon Schiele Centre
    was under water.

    Nevertheless, there are many more affected cultural heritage
    institutions in the country that suffered serious damage: In the
    Prague city district of Karlin, the building of "Invalids",
    housing the collections of the National technical Museum
    including the archives of architecture, history of industry and
    material of the Army History Archive, found themselves at the
    bottom of a three-meters deep lake.

    At the Museum of Central Bohemia in Roztoky near Prague, where
    water was reaching the second-floor level, interesting and
    modern exhibitions were completely destroyed together with the
    archaeological collection. Unfortunately, the same fate met the
    unique conservation workplaces, which were used by cultural
    heritage institutions all over the country: the radiation room
    (used for rehabilitation of objects infested by insects, cobalt
    radioisotope 60Co) and the plasma-chemical conservation
    laboratory (developed in the 1990s in cooperation with the
    National Museum of Switzerland in Zurich, and using the method
    of plasma reduction in treatment of historical and
    archaeological metal objects).

    The town and fortress of Terezin, a national cultural monument,
    commemorating WW II and the Holocaust, was completely under
    water. The damage caused on the fortress itself, the Museum of
    the Ghetto, the National Cemetery and other monuments, all
    recently renovated, are immense. Also the Central Storage of the
    National Museum in Terezin was flooded.

    However, we can proudly announce that with only a few
    exceptions, collection items were evacuated in time from
    exhibitions and storerooms located in the buildings' lower
    floors. This was made possible by the extreme zeal of all museum
    staff members, who did not spare any effort to save the
    collections, often to the detriment of their own homes. We
    gratefully acknowledge their work and express our gratitude.

    The most serious damage then occurred on the museum buildings -
    almost all of them are listed historical monuments, and quite a
    few of them will now have to face general renovation. Besides
    the enormous material losses on technology (computers,
    air-conditioning systems, etc.), equipment and furniture, the
    thoroughly soaked walls and floors will seriously influence on
    the microclimate and subsequently, on the condition of stored
    collections. If the buildings are not dried up in relatively
    short time, we will be facing a "second flood" for the
    collections, due to the extreme humidity in the buildings.

    A major problem that appeared immediately after the water left,
    was how to save archive material and books kept in museums.
    Knowing that the most efficient immediate remedy for paper
    flooded by water is deep-freezing, works were directed in that
    way. A "central depository" for soaked paper was found in the
    cooling chambers of Mochov food plant, and wet archive, museum
    and library collections, as well as the agenda of several other
    offices, have been deposited there. However, we are aware that
    simple deep-freezing does not mean safeguarding of the
    collections. Now, hundreds of conservators would be needed to
    dry up and clean the items, so that to restore them in their
    original condition of human memory media.

    In this fight, museums stand close to the other cultural
    heritage preservation institutions--archives and libraries.
    Although a lot has been done in the past years thanks to the
    international Blue Shield scheme in order to develop a common
    methodology for solving emergency situations, there is still a
    lot to improve.

    We are very touched by the tremendous solidarity within the
    museum field. Since the culmination moment of the flood-wave in
    Prague, there is a constant flow of offers of professional
    advice, manpower and financial contributions for the affected
    institutions. The Museums and Galleries Association of the Czech
    Republic has launched a public fund-raising campaign to help
    Czech museums damaged by the flood. The gathered finances will
    be distributed by the Association's Senate (upon recommendation
    of an expert working group) directly to the museums in need. The
    bank account number is 27-7705500277/0100, at Komercni banka in
    Prague (designation of payment: constant symbol 0558, variable
    symbol 9999).

    On behalf of the Czech museums, we would like to express our
    most sincere thanks to all of you who have manifested your
    interest, provided support and offered help. It came very
    quickly and in large amount, and we really appreciate it a lot.
    At the moment, physical help does not seem to be needed any
    more. What is urgent, though, is equipment and money--as already
    mentioned, hundreds of drier units will be needed to restore the
    soaked buildings and to provide for sustainable climate for
    collection storage. Later, when the buildings will have been
    cleaned and working conditions will be approaching the standards
    again, we will definitely need all kind of conservation
    equipment and material, professional consultancy, as well as
    physical help of skilled conservators.

    Most of the museums in the flooded areas strive to re-open their
    doors to the public as soon as possible: So do come and support
    us with your visit!

    Yours sincerely,

    Katka Tlachova Chair of the Czech Committee of ICOM

  First estimate of damage caused on cultural institutions in the
                           Czech Republic

  (Press release of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic
                       from 21 August, 2002)

    This first estimate is very approximate and deals mainly with
    cultural heritage and institutions under the care of the State;
    private property could not be estimated yet in most of the

    Historical monuments and sites:
                    181,300,000 CZK (6,043,400 EUR)

    Museums and galleries:
        public:     1,411,000,000 CZK (47,040,000 EUR)
        private:    240,000,000 CZK (8,000,000 EUR)

        public:     20,220,000 CZK (674,000 EUR)
        private:    361,515,000 CZK (12,050,500 EUR)

    Churches and buildings of the Church:
        so far:     30,200,000 CZK (1,007,000 EUR)

    Theatres:       47,800,000 CZK (1,593,400 EUR)

    Music:          26,807,000 CZK (893,600 EUR)

    TOTAL:          2, 318,842,000 CZK (77,301,900 EUR)

      Survey of museums in the Czech Republic, affected by the
                 catastrophic floods of August 2002

Prague City Gallery
Mickiewiczova 3, Praha 6, 160 00
+42 2 33321200
ghmp [at] volny__cz;
Contact: Dr. Petra Hoftichova
+42 2 33324170

Chateau Troja:

    *   the garden completely flooded, as well as part of the
        outdoor sculptures and objects located near the lower wall;

    *   the underground floor of the chateau was under water--there
        were the Gallery's storages, but a major part had been
        evacuated, so that damage occurred on technical equipment
        and a small part of the storage (sculpture collection).

Houses "U kamenneho zvonu" and "U prstenu" (Staromistske Square):

    *   slightly damaged buildings due to penetration of underwater,
        resp. canalisation

    *   exhibitions in both exhibition buildings had been evacuated
        in time, only the installation of Frederico Diaz, which is
        integral part of the building "U prstenu", was damaged;
        damaged workshops and storage area.

Prague City Museum
Ko'na 1/475
Praha 1, 110 00
+42 2 24223696 8;
muzeum.prahy [at] muzeum__mepnet__cz;
Director: Dr. Zuzana Strnadova
+42 2 24235218;
zuzana.strnadova [at] muzeumprahy__cz

Main museum building (Pooiei Street):

    *   the lowest level of cellars has been flooded;

    *   collection items deposited there had been evacuated in time
        to the higher floors of the building.

"Podskalska Customs Office" (Na Vytoni Street):

    *   this important monument is located in the endangered area
        and has been completely flooded;

    *   the building has been undergoing general refurbishment, so
        that there were no exhibitions installed.

The National Gallery
Staromistske nam. 12
Praha 1
110 15
+42 2 24810758
tisk [at] ngprague__cz
Director General: Prof. Milan Kni'ak Dr. A.

Buildings of St Agnes Convent and Zbraslav Chateau have been

For more information, contact the press office of the National

The National Museum
Vaclavske nam. 68
Praha 1 115 79
+42 2 24497111
nm [at] nm__cz Director General
PhDr. Michal Luke
Contact: Lenka Edrova, press office of the National Museum
+42 2 24497376
lektori [at] nm__cz

"Velkopoevorsky" Palace:

    *   a part of the sheet music archive has been damaged by water,
        no other collection items damaged.

Smetana Museum:

    *   collection items had been evacuated in time, no losses

Libichov Chateau:

    *   the building has been flooded up to the second floor level,
        the whole complex including the park is totally devastated;

    *   the recently restored mural painting are damaged by water;

    *   several heavy pieces of furniture have been damaged, while
        all the other Non-European collections were safeguarded in

Naprstek Museum:

    *   the underground floor was flooded, but evacuated in time. No
        collection items suffered.

Tyr Museum of Physical Training and Sports:

    *   the building is in the flood area, but collection items

Central Storage of the Historical Museum in Terezin:

    *   two buildings in the Old Town centre have been flooded up to
        the height of two meters. Approximately 20,000 books of the
        National Museum Library have been soaked there;

    *   the flood further damaged collection items of various type
        which were not possible to evacuate in time;

    *   both buildings have destroyed infrastructure and are
        seriously damaged.

National Technical Museum
Kostelni 42
Praha 7, 170 78
+42 2 20399111
info [at] ntm__cz;
Contact: Ing. Zdenik Rasl
+42 605 971573

The "Invalids" building in Praha-Karlin

    *   store-rooms have been completely flooded, the huge archive
        of architecture and the Archive of history of technology and

    *   measures had been taken to protect the building up to the
        height of one meter above the 1890 flood, but water finally
        rose more that 3 meters above that level;

    *   the flooded collections include items of electrotechnics,
        engineering, chemistry, architecture and construction,
        metallurgy, textile production, architecture designs of
        numerous 19th and 20th century architects, many personal
        archives and legacies of prominent personalities of Czech
        technology, architecture, industry and science, a huge
        collection of photographic negatives and positives dating of
        1880-1970, the documentation of the aeronautics archive,

Postal Museum
Vavruv dum
Nove Mlyny 2
Praha 1, 110 00
+42 2 2312006
museumcp [at] pha__putmet__cz
Director: Dr. Pavel Etvrtnik
+42 2 2315595

    *   the museum building--cellar and ground floor--has been
        flooded up to the height of 60 cm;

    *   in two days, all the endangered collections had been
        evacuated, so that no collections suffered, with the
        exception of engraved and printing plates for Czechoslovak

The Jewish Museum
U stare 'koly 1
Praha 1, 110 01
+42 2 24266953
office [at] jewishmuseum__cz
Director: Dr. Leo Pavlat
+42 2 21711510

All the collection items in all the building had been evacuated in

Main museum building in U Stare 'koly Street:

    *   the new technical equipment installed in 2001 was completely

Pinkas Synagogue:

    *   the recently renovated inscriptions on the walls,
        commemorating victims of the Holocaust, were destroyed up to
        the height of 2 meters.

"Old-New" Synagogue:

    *   the building has been flooded.

Maisel Synagogue, Klaus Synagogue, Spanish Synagogue:

    *   water did not directly accede to the buildings, but due to
        capillary humidity from the ground the walls have to be

Plzeo (Pilsen) Region
No serious damage on museums occurred. 'umava Museum in
Su'ice--slightly flooded underground floor.

Museum of Western Bohemia in Pilsen--flooded underground floor.

Art Museum of Western Bohemia in Pilsen--increased humidity.

Regional Museum in Klatovy--flooded cellars of folk architecture
buildings in Chanovice, destroyed access road.

South Bohemia Region
Museum of South Bohemia in Eeske Budijovice
Dukelska 1, Eeske Budijovice
370 51
+42 38 7311528 9
muzeumcb [at] muzeumcb__cz;
Director: Mgr. Pavel 'afr
+42 38 635 6447

*   The underground and ground floors were heavily flooded, all the
    administration of the museum is destroyed, as well as offices,
    conservation workshop and publications storage. The building
    needs general refurbishment. Collection items from the
    exhibition halls were evacuated in time up to the higher floors.

Pracheo Museum in Pisek
Velke nam. 114
Pisek, 397 24
+42 362 801111, 214731, 217161
prachmuz [at] pi__bohem-net__cz
Director: Vaclav Barto'
+42 362 213532

Pisek municipal electric plant--Museum of town lighting:

    *   water has completely destroyed the permanent exhibition, but
        collection items were safeguarded.

Church of the Holy Trinity:

    *   water has destroyed the whole interior of the church -
        historical door, valuable organ and technical equipment (the
        museum was using the church as concert and exhibition hall);

    *   the unique Renaissance pulpit has been dismantled and

Memorial of the town of Protivin:

    *   heavy rain has damaged the building's roof.

Museum of Middle Otava Region in Strakonice
Hrad I/1, Strakonice, 386 01
+42 342 321 537
muzeum [at] strakonice__cz
Director: Dr. Ivana Oihova
+42 342 23391
+42 603 161 867

    *   water from Otava river acceded the first and third castle

    *   store-rooms of archaeology, textile and shoes have been
        flooded, as well as storage of exhibition installation

    *   the castle gallery had been evacuated, however, several
        graphics and lithographs for commission sale were destroyed
        together with installation equipment;

    *   museum exhibitions and other store-rooms were out of danger.

Central Bohemia Region
City Museum in Kralupy nad Vltavou
Vrchlickeho 590, Kralupy nad Vltavou, 278 01
+42 205 723035
Director: PaedDr. Jan Racek
+42 205 723035

    *   the museum building is flooded in the underground and ground
        floors (technical infrastructure and exhibition of

    *   collection items from the recently opened archaeological
        exhibition have been evacuated, but the installation
        equipment is destroyed;

    *   the gallery located on the ground floor has been evacuated;
        however, the acquisitions library and ethnographic material
        store-room suffered.

Oboistvi--Lamberk, Bedoich Smetana Memorial
Oboistvi--Lamberk 12, 277 42
Director: Dr. Miloslava Havliekova
Regional Museum in Milnik,
+42 206 621616
havlickova [at] muzeum-melnik__cz

    *   water has destroyed installation equipment and technical

    *   all collection items have been evacuated.

Museum of Central Bohemia, Roztoky u Prahy
Zamek ep. 1, Roztoky u Prahy, 252 63
+42 2 20910016
+42 2 20910017
smr [at] smr__anet__cz
Director: Mgr. Eva Bala'tikova
+42 2 20911015

    *   the buildings (8 in total in the complex of the chateau and
        Brauner's mill) were completely drowned in water, the total
        estimate of damage is not available yet;

    *   damage in the specialist library and archive, store-room of
        folk furniture;

    *   permanent exhibitions completely destroyed;

    *   unique conservation workplaces and laboratories, technical
        infrastructure flooded;

    *   store-rooms located in the attic were preserved safely.

Usti nad Labem Region
Terezin Memorial, national cultural monument
Principova alej, Terezin, 411 55
+42 416 782225, 782442, 782131;
sekretariat [at] pamatnik-terezin__cz;
Director: PhDr. Jan Munk, CSc.
+42 416 782225

    *   The large museum complex, including the "Small Fortress",
        the national cemetery, the Museum of the Ghetto, the
        crematorium at the Jewish cemetery, the columbarium, the
        central morgue, the former Magdeburg barracks and the
        Meeting Centre building--all this has been completely
        flooded, and the damage is immense.

Prague, 21 August 2002. Compiled by the secretariat of the Museums
and Galleries Association of the Czech Republic (AMG)

Odchozi zprava neobsahuje viry.
Zkontrolovano antivirovym systemem AVG (<URL:>).
Verze: 6.0.384 / Virova baze: 216 - datum vydani: 21.8.2002

                  Conservation DistList Instance 16:16
                  Distributed: Friday, August 30, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-16-16-004
Received on Friday, 30 August, 2002

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