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.
Dorit von Derschau
KUR - Programm zur Konservierung und Restaurierung von mobilem Kulturgut
Kulturstiftung des Bundes
06110 Halle (Saale)
Tel.: +49 (0)345 2997 160
Fax: +49 (0)345 2997 333