Autumn 2012: 3 sessions
Session 1: Conservation in the Midst of Urban Development
Three decades of political uncertainty in Lebanon had a negative impact on the management of cultural heritage. The main concern is the massive reconstruction and urban development taking place in Beirut. Emergency archaeological excavations are being conducted in haste and under pressure from developers. Isabelle will discuss conservation issues: unearthing archaeological objects, the absence of coherent cultural preservation policies, etc.
Session 2: Recovery Operations at the National Museum of Beirut.
Our Museum (1930s) houses archaeological finds excavated on Lebanese territory. Being next to the green line, it closed down in 1975. This subjected the museum and its collection to a great deal of damage. Rehabilitation of the building and the collection started at the end of the civil war in 1991 and conservation work on the collection is still going on.
Session 3: The Conservation of the Wall Paintings of St Theodore Behdaidat.
The Church of St. Theodore in the village of Behdaidat (Casa of Jbeil) is decorated by 13th century wall paintings considered as some of the finest and most significant examples in the region of frescoes painted in the local Syriac Orthodox style. In 2008 the Directorate of Antiquities and a private conservation practice initiated a projected aimed at saving the degraded frescoes. Isabelle will describe the work done and the impact on Lebanese as well as Christian cultural heritage and tourism. The talk will be illustrated with many images.
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Isabelle Doumit Skaff: BA in Fine Arts at New York University in 1982 and a conservator at the Institute of Archaeology in London (BSc in Archaeological Conservation in 1985). She worked in museums and labs as a conservator. She worked in Iraq on site conservation then moved to Beirut where she ran a private workshop until 1991. After conservation work with the Direction Générale des Antiquités in 1994 (UNESCO), she headed the conservation lab: 1997 - 2001. (a) recovery operations of the National Museum’s collections stored in the war in the basement. (b) To treat crucial objects in the lab for reopening the museum (1997/1999). Since 2001 she free lances in conservation for several excavations and museums. In 2004: Masters in Business Administration (ESCP/EAP - ESA, Beirut). In 2005: coordinator for ATHAR Core regional course on the conservation of archaeological sites (ICCROM in Lebanon).