The protocols apply to works threatened not only by violent conflict or acts of terrorism but also by natural disasters. The ongoing Syrian Civil War seems to have served as the impetus for this issuing, with AAMD President Johnnetta Cole condemning the intentional damage as “reprehensible acts of violence and brutal vandalism.”
The protocols are comprehensive, providing guidelines for museums to temporarily shelter a work of art or an artifact – from its approval as a valid object that needs protection to its transportation to a safe haven and eventual return to its owner. Rightful owners may request protection at one of AAMD’s member museums across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
AAMD has strongly encouraged its 240 members to adopt these protocols and has also invited museums outside its circle to do so as well. The association’s system of documenting the entire process of transfer of artworks and cultural artifacts ensures transparency and open access to these works.
AAMD asks that member museums treat these works as loans, ensuring that they receive stabilisation and proper storage as well as display conditions.
You can find out more about the protocols for the safeguard of cultural heritage here.