What Is Museum SOS

Nevra Erturk
Read Bio | Send Email


Non-Structural Mitigation Against Earthquake:
A Case Study of Istanbul Museums

Bilgen Sungay
Bogazici University,
Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute,
Disaster Preparedness Education Program (AHEP)

Nevra Erturk
Yildiz Technical University,
Faculty of Art and Design,
Museum Studies Program and Art Management Program
Yildiz Campus


The exposure of the Marmara and Aegean regions of Turkey to a major and devastating earthquake in the near future is a scientific fact. An earthquake will put rich and irreplaceable cultural heritage of world civilizations which are exhibited and stored in Istanbul Museums, at great peril. The tourism economy and hospitality services sector in the Marmara Region is entirely dependent on the integrity of the world class cultural heritage that tourists come to see. Protecting the tourism sector of the economy involves disaster preparedness education and business resumption planning.

There are more than 50 public and private museums in Istanbul, which daily host thousands of visitors. As a result of the programs held earlier and the projects by Bogazici University, Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute, Disaster Preparedness Education Program (AHEP), the custodians of the rich heritage of the region were well-aware of and very much concerned about the risk. However, they had in their hands very little specific "how-to" educational materials and information on where to begin.

The pilot project entitled "Seismic Conservation of Historical and Cultural Treasures of a World City: Sizing the Need and Formulating an Action Plan for the Museums of Istanbul, Turkey" has been realized during the 6-month period from July through December 2003. The project is one of the applied research grants of the ProVention Consortium Disaster Risk Reduction Program which is managed by the World Bank's Disaster Management Facility.

The pilot project aimed to research the needs, priorities and feasibility of taking non-structural mitigation measures to protect the cultural heritage of Istanbul Museums; to make the knowledge about disaster preparedness focusing on non-structural mitigation more widely available in order to save lives and prevent injuries of museum staff and visitors; to preserve the cultural heritage for future generations; to protect business continuity in the tourism sector and assist this sector in prioritizing and developing practical non-structural   mitigation action plans. Since Istanbul leads the nation in most respects, it is expected that its best practices in seismic preservation will be emulated by other cities of Turkey and throughout the region.

This paper will focus on the methodology of the pilot project like compilation of examples of hazards and best practices to develop an educational presentation; organization of an educational seminar, and development of survey forms; museum visits and analysis of datas such as the most common non-structural risks both on display and in storage; challenges faced when undertaking non-structural mitigation work; recommendations in accomplishing mitigation efforts and the achievements of the pilot project.


PDF of PPT presentation

Narrative of the lecture


Back to top