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CHrisis: Protecting Heritage in Crisis Situations

When, heavy flooding in July 2021 impacted more than 250 heritage sites, the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA), in close cooperation with the relevant regional organisations, has coordinated a cross-sectoral response. In follow-up, the Cultural Heritage in Crisis (CHrisis) project works on recovery actions as well as on improving risk preparedness and management for the affected sites.

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Elke Selter
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Enhancing Risk Preparedness and Response for Heritage

The CHrisis project works to assist cultural institutions and heritage owners affected by the 2021 floods. With the support of various studios and labs within KIK-IRPA a selection of objects and buildings affected by the floods are being treated and studied. The staff of KIK-IRPA is testing the cleaning and treating of damaged church textiles, ceramics, and metal objects, as well as studying the drying of various historic buildings. These efforts are undertaken in view of determining improved conservation and response protocols for these types of heritage.

CHrisis is also aiming to enhance risk preparedness and responsiveness of cultural institutions and heritage sites in the case of future disaster events. Together with the Preventive Conservation Unit affected cultural institutions area assisted with establishing and implementing a variety of preventive measures, ranging from improved storage and documentation to the development of risk management plans. The CHrisis project is also evaluating the crisis coordination for heritage that was undertaken by KIK-IRPA, together with a broad group of local and institutional partners, as a way to identify enhanced crisis coordination mechanisms.

The altarpiece of the Virgin is back in Boussu after an eventful history

After two years of research and restoration at the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, the 16th-century altarpiece of the Virgin Mary is back home in the Church of Saint Gaugericus in Boussu-lez-Mons, Hainaut.

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