KUR – Programme for the Conservation of Moveable Cultural Assets

Initiated by the Federal Cultural Foundation and the Cultural Foundation of German States

In 2007 the Federal Cultural Foundation and the Cultural Foundation of German States established the KUR programme to support exemplary conservation projects at museums, archives and libraries until 2011. The conservation efforts focused on acutely threatened pieces and collections of great cultural-historical importance, e.g. prehistoric works of iron, Chinese cave drawings, music manuscripts from the Bach family, cabinets of natural history and even contemporary video installations. The 26 projects, which were selected by a panel of experts, developed a scientific basis and innovative solutions for conserving these pieces in cooperation with research institutes, universities and museums in Germany and abroad.

The specimens and collections – though diverse in terms of their age, materials and conservational requirements – drew attention to dangers facing the valuable assets in museums, archives and libraries. Poor storage conditions, improper handling, neglect and environmental effects continue to threaten the items of many collections. In light of worsening financial circumstances, smaller institutions, in particular, simply cannot afford the burden of conserving their collections. Competing with cultural institutions and recreational events, these institutions often have no choice but organize spectacular shows and exhibitions – this despite the fact that curators and conservators have repeatedly expressed the need to invest in conservation efforts instead. Working at capacity to collect, research and present their cultural assets, the museums, archives and libraries often have difficulty securing the financial and technical resources to safeguard them. That is why the KUR programme also focused on presenting the results of the projects to experts in the field, publicizing details of the on-going conservation efforts, and sensitizing the public to the crucial task of conservation by museums and collections.

The Federal Cultural Foundation, which developed and coordinated the KUR Programme together with the Cultural Foundation of German States, provided a total of seven million euros for the five-year programme which visibly demonstrated the urgency of conservation measures.

The members of the KUR Programme curatorial panel:
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Böcker, advisor for Materials and Environment, formerly the Federal Laboratories for Materials Research and Testing, Berlin
Dr. Renate Eikelmann, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich
Kornelius Götz, president of the German Association of Art Conservators, 2001-2007, Büro für Restaurierungsberatung Oettingen
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schießl, College of the Fine Arts, Dresden
Prof. Dr. Armin Zweite, managing director of the Udo and Anette Brandhorst Foundation and director of the Brandhorst Collection, Munich

The KUR Programme for the Conservation of Moveable Cultural Assets was jointly coordinated and carried out by the Federal Cultural Foundation and the Foundation of German States.

Logo Kulturstiftung der Länder

Funded projects and project coordinators

The following is an overview of the 26 projects funded through the KUR Programme. These have now concluded. Click on the links below for detailed project descriptions and information about the project coordinators:

Aging of synthetic bonding agents on murals (Museum of Asian Art, Berlin State Museums, Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz)

Anti-aging treatment for cultural assets with elastomer components (DMT-LB German Mining Museum, Bochum)

Architectural drafts in the Hans Scharoun Archive (Academy of the Arts, Berlin)

Conservation and professional storage of iron artefacts (State Agency for Historic Landmark Preservation and Archaeology in Saxony-Anhalt, State Museum of Prehistory, Halle)

Conservation of historic anatomical collections (Senckenberg Natural History Society, Frankfurt am Main)

Conservation of the “Schwarzburger Zeughaus” weapons collection (Thuringian State Museum Heidecksburg)

Elaborately decorated caskets in the royal tomb at the Merseburg Cathedral (United Merseburg and Naumburg Cathedral Benefactors)

Historic Wet Collection at the Museum of Natural History (Museum of Natural History, Berlin)

Historic keyboard instruments in the collections of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar (Klassik Stiftung Weimar)

ILKAR – Integrated solutions for the preservation, archiving and conservation of endangered magnetic tapes and cylinders (Ethnological Museum, Berlin State Museums, Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz)

In Uno Museum – Science and art in Görlitz (Museum of Cultural History, Görlitz)

Mass finds in archaeological collections (Bavarian State Archaeological Collection, Munich)

Mediaartbase.de (ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe)

Moveable cultural assets from the imperial and royal tombs at the Speyer Cathedral (The Speyer Museum of Palatinate History)

Preservation and conservation of the Pausa collection (City of Mössingen)

Preservation of Oscar Sala’s audio tapes (Deutsches Museum in Munich)

Preservation of medieval stained glass with regard to special material and environmental factors (Erfurt Cathedral, St. Marien – cathedral chapter)

Preserving a chapter of German photographic history 1945 - 1960 (Saxon State and University Library in Dresden (SLUB))

Rescuing the Waldenburg Natural History Cabinet (City of Waldenburg (Saxony))

Research on the statics of historic keyboard instruments (Händel-Haus Halle Foundation)

Stabilization of brittle newspaper pages (Berlin State Library – Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz)

Sustainability of mass de-acidification of library collections (German National Library, Frankfurt am Main and Leipzig)

Tabu – Safeguarding audio-visual cultural assets (Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek)

The Lost Art of Wax Moulages: Preserving Valuable Artistic Crafts (German Hygiene Museum Foundation in Dresden)

The Sing-Akademie Bachiana – Preservation and conservation (Sing-Akademie zu Berlin e. V.)

Umbrian panel paintings – Conservation and presentation (Lindenau Museum, Altenburg)

Final reports of the KUR projects

The Hornemann Institute will successively publish the final reports of the KUR projects on its website starting in spring 2012. These will be accessible to the public at no charge following the conclusion of the programme.


For All the World to See

How can museums more effectively increase public awareness about conservation and preservation? At the KUR symposium in Halle on 13-14 October 2010, conservators, curators, scientists and patrons presented successful public relations concepts.

KUR symposium