German museums need help
|Information Service of
Saxon Museums Association
final report 2003
|1st Catastrophe: Flash
from the Mountains
On monday 12th august heavy and permanent rainfall in central Erzgebirge (the mountain range along the border between Saxony and the Czech Republic) exceeded all records: up to 300 litres per square meter! Small rivers turned into torrents; roads, railways and houses in the valleys were devastated.
People were surprised and shocked by this never before experienced force. Museums in the mountain valleys had no time to react. Old mills - very important heritage monuments of preindustrial activities - were heavily destroyed.
The mountain rivers (Zwickauer Mulde, Chemnitz, Flöha, Zschopau, Striegis, Freiberger Mulde: more details in German) proceeded with their destroying power in lower areas. About 100 km northward all these rivers merge to the Mulde. The first town after the confluence, Grimma, was hit by the rushing floods in an never experienced way. The beautiful old town centre, reconstructed during the last decade, was destroyed - even the ancient walls were completely covered by water.
Rainfall in eastern Erzgebirge was heavy, too; it caused flash floods in several small Elbe tributarys. They destroyed many houses in valley villages and flooded parts of Dresden, Meißen and Pirna. The Weißeritz turned back to its old bed - and surprisingly quick the main railway station of Dresden, built there 150 years ago, was buried under several meters of water. The main newspaper building (office and archive) was quickly put under this unexpected water as well; staff hurried to transport the very valuable photo archive from basement to ground floor - but they couldn't expect, that it would be completely destroyed there. Only the city hospital could be defended.
All museums (except one external magazine) in that area managed it to rescue their objects from basement and ground floor magazines. In an incredible effort within a few hours the Dresden State Art Collections transported more than 10.000 paintings and sculptures of very high value to upper levels.
18 Museums were affected in the Mulde area, 13 in the Elbe area. But many of the devastated towns (e.G. Aue, Bad Düben, Döbeln, Dohna, Freital, Glashütte, Waldheim, Weesenstein, Wurzen) had no damages at their museums, because of their elevated situation.
The same rainfall had caused severe floods also in the Czech Republik, especially in the valleys of the Ohre / Eger and the Moldava / Moldau. These main tributaries to the Elbe caused - with a delay of some days - the second catastrophe. The Elbe river has exceeded the highest water mark ever recorded by about 1 meter! Near Dresden in dry summers water-mark falls below 2 meters - now it surpassed 9 meters!
This time the museums had been well prepared, therefore no object was damaged. But basements (Dresden) and ground floors (Meißen, Pirna, Bad Schandau) of many museums had heavy damages in building structure as well as technical equipment. 8 museums of Dresden State Art Collections were hit as well as 6 other museums.
Saxony has experienced the worst floods in over one hundred years. More than 400 miles of roads and 180 bridges have been damaged or destroyed. Over thirty thousand people had to evacuate their homes; thousands have been made homeless. And the worst: In the valleys floods have wiped out the great economic and building reconstruction effort of the past decade.
30 museums, the Dresden State Art Collections (8 museums) and several Castles and Parks were affected (about 10% of Saxonian museums). The first asessment is a very disunited one: Objects saved - buildings ruined!
Despite the fact that the first floods came very unexpectedly
both floods exceeded all previous experience, Saxonian museums managed
it to bring nearly all objcets to safe places. Less than 100 objects
max. 50.000 €) were completely lost or destroyed! The restoration
of the objects in contact with floods will cost about 1 mio
But we have huge problems with our buildings! In ground floors
all sophisticated technical equipment has been destroyed: heating
central electric installations, air-conditioning plants, safety sytems.
The (recently built and very well equipped) basement magazines of
State Art Collections could not be defended agains
So museums need money not only for repair of buildings and for new technical equipment, but also for finding and realizing new solutions for functions upto now placed in basements. State, distict and municipal administraions alone cannot cope with these museum problems (estimated more than 20 mio €), especially because these authorities have (much bigger) financial problems to solve in every field of infrastructure (river repairs; roads, railways and bridges; sewerage and imbedding of cables; public buildings) and have to support the local industry, craft and trade as well as homeless citizens. So there is a big demand for donations - from Germany and from abroad!
Bad Dueben: Dueben Heath Countryside Museum - Castle Dueben
Bad Schandau: * Local History Museum
Braunsdorf: Historic Weaving-Mill ("Tannenhauer")
Chemnitz-Klaffenbach: Saxon Vehicle Museum
Dippoldiswalde: Tannery, Dippoldiswalde and District Museum
Dresden: German Hygiene-Museum
Dresden: Kraszewski-Museum (City Museum)
Dresden: Dresden State Art Collections
The Dresden Armoury (in: Zwinger)
Old Masters Picture Gallery (in: Zwinger)
Mathematical-Physical Salon (in: Zwinger)
Modern Masters Picture Gallery (in: Albertinum)
Museum of Arts and Crafts (in: Pillnitz Castle)
Museum of Saxon Folk Art (in: Jägerhof)
Palace Exhibition and Hausmann Tower (in: Former Royal Palace)
Sculpture Collection (in: Albertinum)
Dresden: City Museum
Dresden: Transport Museum
Eilenburg: Eilenburg Museum
Frohnau: Historic Forge
Grimma: Grimma District Museum
Hainichen: Gellert Museum
Klosterbuch: Buch Monastery
Meissen: Meissen Museum
Meißen: * Pianoforte-Museum Thürmer
Nossen: Altzella Monastery
Oederan: Historic Weaving-Mill (Oederan Museum)
Olbernhau: Copper Foundry and Forge "Grünthal"
Olbernhau: Local Heritage Center
Pirna: Pirna Museum
Pockau: Historic Oil Mill
Rittersgruen: Saxon Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
Rittersgruen: Historic Pulp Factory ("Weigel")
Woerlitz: Garden World (UNESCO World Heritage)
Zinnwald: Mining Museum
Zwoenitz: Historic Paper Mill Niederzwoenitz
|* still closed|
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 cases.
Historical monuments and sites 181.300.000 CZK (6.043.400 EUR)
Museums and galleries:
Churches and buildings of the Church:
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)
Compiled by the secretariat of the Museums and Galleries
Prague City Gallery
Houses "U kamenného zvonu" and "U prstenu"
Prague City Museum
Main museum building (Poøíèí
"Podskalská Customs Office" (Na Výtoni
The National Gallery
Buildings of St Agnes Convent and Zbraslav Chateau have
The National Museum
Tyr¹ Museum of Physical Training and Sports:
Central Storage of the Historical Museum in Terezín:
National Technical Museum
The "Invalids" building in Praha-Karlín
- the museum building -
ground floor - has been flooded up to the height of 60 cm;
The Jewish Museum
All the collection items in all the building had been evacuated in time.
Main museum building in U Staré ¹koly Street:
Maisel Synagogue, Klaus
Synagogue, Spanish Synagogue:
Plzeò (Pilsen) Region
No serious damage on museums occurred.
©umava Museum in Su¹ice - slightly flooded
South Bohemia Region
Museum of South Bohemia in Èeské
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.
Prácheò Museum in Písek
Písek municipal electric plant - Museum of town
Church of the Holy Trinity:
Memorial of the town of Protivín:
Museum of Middle Otava Region in Strakonice
- water from Otava river
the first and third castle courtyards;
Central Bohemia Region
City Museum in Kralupy nad Vltavou
- the museum building is
in the underground and ground floors (technical infrastructure and
Obøíství - Lamberk, Bedøich
- water has destroyed
equipment and technical infrastructure;
Museum of Central Bohemia, Roztoky u Prahy
- the buildings (8 in
total in the
complex of the chateau and Brauner's mill) were completely drowned in
the total estimate of damage is not available yet;
Ústí nad Labem Region
Terezín Memorial, national
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.
ICOM Czech Republic
Brno, 29 August, 2002
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 crowns.
In Prague, buildings of the National Museum, the National
Jewish Museum, the Kampa Museum and others were flooded; in the
town of Cesky Krumlov, listed in the UNESCO world
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
was reaching the second-floor level, interesting and modern exhibitions
were completely destroyed together with the archaeological collection.
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
all of them are listed historical monuments, and quite a few of them
now have to face general renovation. Besides the enormous material
A major problem that appeared immediately after the water
how to save archive material and books kept in museums. Knowing that
most efficient immediate remedy for paper flooded by water is
works were directed in that way. A "central depository" for soaked
was found in the cooling chambers of Mochov food plant, and wet
museum and library collections, as well as the agenda of several other
offices, have been deposited there. However, we are aware that simple
does not mean safeguarding of the
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
Since the culmination moment of the flood-wave in Prague, there is a
flow of offers of professional advice, manpower and financial
for the affected institutions. The Museums and Galleries Association of
the Czech Republic has launched a public
On behalf of the Czech museums, we would like to express our
thanks to all of you who have manifested your interest, provided
and offered help. It came very quickly and in large amount, and
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!
The devastating flood, which hit Prague hard in the middle of August, heavily damaged the National Technical Museum archives and collections. Almost 90% of the following archives have been flooded: Industrial History Archives, unique Aviation Archives and especially the world-known Architecture Archives, which include complete heritage and documentation of the designs of the top Czech architects of the 19th and 20th centuries, but also many designs and original works by architects from all over the world. In addition, significant parts of our technical history collections were also submerged including a range of unique historical objects documenting the history of metallurgy, chemistry, machinery and electronics including its original plans and related documents.
Most of archival material have already been secured by deep-freezing (250 m3 in total) and include the following materials:
Pencil, ink and crayon sketches - on designer's glued paper and
The flood also affected the following types of architectural models:
In order to rescue the damaged documents and other items, the Museum is now preparing a special building with large utility space (2 x 300 m2) in which the frozen records should be defrosted, washed, disinfected, stabilized, dried and then registered, restored and put in a suitable storage. The building, which is conveniently located in downtown Prague is well equipped with rest rooms, offices and other handling rooms. The depository of the rescued items will be also located nearby with more office rooms (including accommodation units) available as appropriate.
While the National Technical Museum is able to provide these spaces and basic facilities to the restorers, we totally lack the necessary technology and practical experience as well as much of special equipment for conservation/renovation works. Therefore, our Museum would urgently appreciate the following technical assistance:
Portable freezers (approx. 2 m3)
Furthermore, the following chemicals and materials are badly needed for the processing:
Suitable germicide and stabilisation solutions (also for the treatment
of 10% of the records not directly damaged by water, but inflicted by
in humid environment)
Lacking a suitable practical experience with such large-scale conservation & restoration works, we would very much appreciate if you could send expert restorers who could assist us to set up and run the workshops and provide methodological help and training for our own employees. There is also an idea behind to expand these works later into a special Training Department that would provide education and best practice examples to the Czech as well as foreign restorers.
Since much of our original archival facilities were almost completely destroyed we would welcome also a large number of suitable wrap materials including
To safe the damaged metallic objects like historical engines, electrical tools and appliances and historical telecommunication apparatuses we would be much grateful for the following facilities for a mechanical shop and conservation works, respectively:
Finally, in order to secure and document the respective documents and 3D historical objects, we will be much grateful for any suitable digitalisation equipment including the following:
A3 scanner for reflective and transparent materials
Obviously, except of the above listed most urgent items we will be highly grateful for any help, including financial contributions. The National Technical Museum has opened a special account for these purposes that is:
NATIONAL TECHNICAL MUSEUM (FLOODS)
Should you wish to help us by providing any specific equipment or materials, please, contact urgently the following persons for more information:
Ing. Ivo Janousek, CSc., FEng.
Ing. Václav Suchy, CSc.
Ing. Zdenek Rasl
Thank you very much for your kind assistance in advance.
Ing. Ivo Janousek, CSc., FEng. Director General
Terezin after the floods
Report on damage in Terezin Memorial (photographies)
From Michal Frankl
The town Terezin and the Terezin Memorial are severely
affected by floods.
On Friday 16th and following Saturday the town Terezin, during war a
to 150 thousand Jews, and Lesser Fortress, former Gestapo prison, found
In this report I am going to describe damage sustained by
Together with volunteers from Austrian organization Gedenkdienst I took
part in clearing away of flood debris; I obtained additional
The flood hit all objects in the town. In the following days
destroyed items appeared in front of each building: furniture,
personal things, books etc. In many places pavements are giving way and
1. Lesser Fortress
The worst situation is on the forth courtyard, where
and other objects were flooded. Even the authentic scaffold, which is
under water, must have sustained major damage, just as well as the
Exposition about Terezin before the Second World War, which
in the entrance halls, was completely destroyed. The exposition in the
Museum of Lesser Fortress will have to be dismantled due to mould
Utterly destroyed were also offices and study halls with all
on the ground floor of "Manor" (Panský dum), the main
building of Terezin Memorial. The only good news is that archive and
2. National cemetery
3. Crematorium and the Jewish cemetery
4. Columbarium and the central morgue
All the new exhibits there were destroyed and part of the symbolic tombstones was damaged. The central morgue is still under water and it is evident that the newly opened exhibition there has been completely destroyed. The burial cart and other objects in ceremonial rooms near the entrance to the morgue will have to be cleaned and restored.
5. Ghetto museum
Educational and study departments in the Ghetto museum were completely destroyed. Also a very expensive electronic model of Terezin ghetto was flooded and it's not clear, whether it will be possible to renovate it. Luckily the exhibitions in the Museum were spared, only in the part devoted to Terezin children wooden floor is damaged.
6. Educational meeting centre
Main building of the centre has been affected very severely. Offices of educational and documentional departments have been destroyed, just as well as office of German and Austrian volunteers, with all the documents and materials gathered for years. Kitchen and dining room have been severely damaged and only part of the equipment could have been saved from kitchen. Depository in the Magdeburg barracks has also been badly damaged; fortunately it did not contain valuable documents.
In May 2002 the Memorial opened reconstructed and newly
building of the Meeting centre at Prazská street. Flood
lecture and social room in the basement and the whole ground floor with
The Memorial has so far been closed, but it will strive to make available at least some of its buildings and xhibitions. Under favourable conditions first of them could be opened in September.
Terezin Memorial ranks among foremost institutions in the Czech republic, whose task is to preserve the memory of Nazi crimes and especially of holocaust. Annually, thousands tourists and students from the Czech republic and foreign countries visit its premises.Without our help the Terezin Memorial will not be able to fulfil this important social function.
The Terezin Memorial opened a special flood account, to which you can contribute towards reconstruction of Terezin sights, expositions, educational and other facilities. Financial contributions shall be used only towards fighting effects of the flood and its use shall be under public supervision
Website of Museums and Galleries Association of the
Habsburg (Diskussion-network in H-Net,
Information on Archives:
An efficient tool after the flood catastrophe
|Our special website on floods became - unexpectedly for us -
factor in communcating after the floods as well as in organizing
The Saxon Museums Association started this service already on august
since september 7th an English version is available. Every evening
pages were updated.
Like all other actions during these dramatic days, our web service was not planned and we had no pattern that could be copied. There was no time to cooperate with web professionals; an emergency site has to be produced immediately and with simple means. In trying to cope with an unexpected catastrophe we just had to react and to find out day by day what is needed most. According to the changing needs we quickly developed this site and added many new elements.
The potential and advantages of web communication changed as
different periods of crisis.
1) How it began: breakdown of communication
Communication within Saxony had become extremely difficult. When floods came mail service had to be stopped, but very soon phones and computers run into difficulties, too. As power failed, telephone installations with extensions (and fax) and computing systems could no longer operate. Rising water sooner or later put single phones (and even complete area nets) out of service as well.
Cellular phones were a very limited help, because some relay
were flooded or without power. The cellular nets operated above
therefore authorities instantly asked the public not to use cellular
because emergency and rescue services needed the remaining facilities.
And when phoning you had to make it short, because people in flooded
could not recharge their storage batterys - a fact that limited
the use of mobile computers, too.
2) Re-establishing communication
A "communication society" is quite helpless, when all sophisticated systems brake down. When we tried to get first information on the state of museums in flooded areas, we had to call the very busy emergency lines of town or district administations. In order to get into contact with museum people, we had to find out, who is living in a non affected part of the town; moreover we looked for nearby living relatives, friends or colleagues, who could meet personally one of the museum staff. When all attempts had failed, we resorted to drastic measures: We sent a "scout" (with "credentials" of our association), who had to try to pass the police road barriers protecting the devastated towns from thieves and catastrophe tourists.
Under these conditions e-mails were helpful for
3) First support
Libraries and bookshops in flooded towns cannot be used. So if museum professionals need information, web sites are the best available. Especially if you have to cope with a problem you never before had to deal with, you are glad to get very detailed advice. Some associations of archives and libraries permanently offer on their sites special pages on "first aid" for books, paper documents and photos as well as checklists for emergency situations and rescue operations; other instituts quickly supplied the most needed information including addresses of specialists and firms. As time is a very important factor, when you try to rescue soaked books or files in a hot summer, this service was extremly helpful.
The main networks and mailing lists reacted quickly as well. H- Museum and historicum.net provided topical information and link lists.
Our site informed on partnerships beween museums. So
wanting to help could see which museum is still without a partner.
it soon went the other way round: We had far more museums ready to help
than museums in need.) We also compiled and published a catalogue
damages, so everybody could see, what kind of help is needed at the
4) Spreading information
Watching horror pictures on TV, museum professionals all over germany were very worried about their colleagues in Saxony. Therefore a listing of affected and not affected museums was one of the first sections in our site. In the beginning this list was dominated by question marks, but they disappeared day by day.
Later on we decided to present the most damaged museums. Unfortunately the offical Website "Museums in Saxony" with its "Guide to Saxon Museums" as well as the website of Dresden State Art Collections were not available in the first weeks, because their Dresden based server (Ministry of Science and Art) was out of service. As substitute we collected basic information on the 20 most damaged museums. Because many people, museums and associations in Germany asked, how they could help with direct donations, we added donation accounts of all damaged museums. As we noticed, that tourism in Saxony is heavily declining, we collected and published the date of reopening of our museums.
Federal Republic and some national cultural foundations developed schemes for financial support. As this became a quite complicated and constantly changing matter, we supplied precise information on this vital issue for the affected museums.
When we had solved our main information problems in Saxony, we
our view across the border and compiled infomation on museums in Sachsen-Anhalt,
Brandenburg and the Czech Republic.
|Special page (Ralf Blank and Stefanie Marra) in H-MUSEUM:
Special page (Klaus Graf) in historicum.net:
of the German Site
|Saxon Museums Association (Sächsischer Museumsbund
task force "flood" (manager: Dr. Thomas Schuler)
c/o Schloßbergmuseum Chemnitz
Copyright Sächsischer Museumsbund 2002
Text, Design and Editing: Thomas Schuler
Issue of this document: 2002, September 7th - Oktober 9th
Webmaster: th.schuler <at> t-online.de
des IuKDG (Informations- und Kommunikationsdienste-Gesetz):
Auf dieser Website finden Sie Links zu anderen Seiten im Internet. Wir machen ausdrücklich darauf aufmerksam, daß wir keinen Einfluß auf die Gestaltung und Inhalte gelinkter Seiten haben. Aus rechtlichen Gründen distanzieren wir uns ausdrücklich von den Inhalten gelinkter Seiten und machen uns Ihre Inhalte nicht zueigen.
Site of Schloßbergmuseum Chemnitz (in German)