UNESCO “shock” at Museum of Islamic Art’s destruction - News in Conservation, Issue 40, February 2014

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Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo. © richardavis [CC-BY-SA-2.0]
Place: 
Cairo

CAIRO — During a news conference early this month, UNESCO pledged to help restore Cairo’s Museum of Islamic Art that was recently devastated by a bomb blast. Officials expressed "shock" at the scale of the damage following reports from Egypt's Antiquities Minister Mohammed Ibrahim informing that 164 of the 1,471 items on display were damaged, of which only 90 could be reassembled or restored.
During the conference Christian Manhart, head of UNESCO's museums sections said: "It was an outstanding museum and to see it now, inside at least, totally destroyed is a big shock for us".
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, UNESCO had already announced the donation of emergency funds of $100,000 (£61,000) adding that further technical and financial help would follow after detailed reports were filed. The American government would also provide $150,000 (£92,000) while a well-known Egyptian actor, Mohammed Sobhy, pledged $7,200 (£4,500).
Together with the museum, the blast damaged Egypt's National Library and Archives, housed in the same building.
A joint mission involving UNESCO, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the International Committee of the Blue Shield visited the museum to assess the situation.
Three years of unrest have dealt a blow to Egypt's economy, damaging the tourism industry and allowing incidents such as the looting of the Malawi Museum and the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square.