June 25, 2024

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New milestone set in cultural heritage conservation

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The Palace Museum in Beijing has been designated as the official address of the secretariat for a new international technical committee focused on standardizing cultural heritage conservation.

It is a significant milestone as this is the first committee of its kind within the International Organization for Standardization dedicated to cultural heritage protection.

Established in March and currently comprising 31 participating member countries and 13 observing member countries, the Technical Committee for Cultural Heritage Conservation aims to consolidate the global consensus on safeguarding cultural heritage through international standardization efforts.

The initiative encompasses the development of standards for terminology, techniques, materials and equipment used in various aspects of cultural heritage conservation, including monitoring, assessment, protection and restoration.

The committee’s work will also facilitate the exchange of best practices and advanced technologies among member countries, promoting the sustainable development of global cultural heritage conservation and fostering cross-cultural learning and collaboration.

“Cultural heritage is the witness of human civilization, containing valuable historical, artistic and scientific values. Standardization is an important way to enhance the level of cultural heritage protection,” said Qu Liang, director of the Palace Museum’s institute of standardization research for cultural relics protection, who has been appointed as the manager of the new ISO committee.

ISO President Sung Hwan Cho said the establishment of the committee and the formulation and implementation of international standards will consolidate the global consensus on cultural heritage conservation and enhance the level of protection.

He said the endeavors will establish a platform for cultural heritage protection exchanges and promote research on the origin of standardization thoughts.

Cho added that he hopes the new committee will strengthen cooperation with international organizations related to standardization of cultural heritage conservation, and jointly promote the development of international standardization in this regard.

Li Qun, director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, proposed that the committee adhere to a global perspective, follow the ISO’s work requirements, and promote the global governance process in the field of cultural heritage protection standardization.

It should emphasize innovation-driven development, using technological progress to promote high-quality development in the field of cultural heritage protection, he said.

Li emphasized that efforts should be made to comprehensively enhance the performance of the committee’s secretariat, thereby contributing wisdom and strength to the development of international standardization in cultural heritage protection.

Qu, the research institute director, said the committee plans to carry out the standardization of terms related to cultural heritage protection, and the conservation and restoration of inorganic porous cultural relics such as stone artifacts, murals and earthen sites.

Li, the heritage administration director, said the Chinese government has always attached great importance to the protection of cultural heritage, actively promoting the research and application of modern technology and applying scientific principles, methods and approaches to traditional crafts.

Li added that the new ISO committee’s secretariat in China will provide valuable opportunities and a broad stage for the advancement of cultural heritage conservation.

The Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, was China’s imperial palace from 1420 to 1911. As the world’s largest surviving wooden architectural complex, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to over 1.86 million cultural relics.

Wang Xudong, director of the Palace Museum, said the museum will give due importance to standardization work and conscientiously fulfill its responsibilities as an ISO technical body.



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