The fire that ended with 200 years of antiquity of the National Museum of Brazil ignited other type of alarms.
How protected are the archaeological assets in the different countries? Doubt resounds and at the same time worries. The incident registered on September 2, 2018 in Rio de Janeiro turned 20 million pieces of art into ashes into a matter of a few hours.
Until this September 21 the real causes of the fire are unknown, but criticism points to the Brazilian authorities for the alleged lack of measures to mitigate this type of emergencies and for the low budget that the Museum had for the protection of property.
Camilo Restrepo, president of the House of Culture of Ecuador (CCE), warned that this example should be taken to avoid similar misfortunes in the country.
According to the manager, the optimization measures provided by the current Government would put at risk the preservation of patrimonial pieces. “The risk of memory and the cultural heritage of the country is not foreseen,” Restrepo said in a statement released by the Casa de la Cultura, which has custody of the museums of Colonial Art, Modern Art, Ethnography and Instruments.
Musicals, from the Film Heritage of Ecuador, through its Cinematheque, and from the National Library. “The irreparable loss suffered by Brazil and the world must serve us to protect our heritage assets, whose value is invaluable,”
said the president of the CCE Regarding Restrepo’s concern, the Ministry of Culture pointed out that Ecuador does not neglect its heritage and rather in 2018 it was declared the Year of Museums, with the purpose of intervening in infrastructure and content from different spaces.”
The museums are the living memory of the Homeland. We have declared this the Year of the Museums before the accident in Brazil, this terrible event is a call to care for and preserve our memory, “the minister of the sector, Raúl Pérez Torres, said on 6 September.
This Ministry, according to the official, has invested more than $ 2.7 million in this 2018 in recovering several of the heritage buildings and museums of the country. Ecuador has not been exempt from this type of tragedies like robberies and destruction by the earthquake of April 16 or fires of its cultural heritage, disasters that have caused invaluable economic and historical losses to the country.
Fire is the main enemy
How is the history of the country protected?
Currently there are 16 museums in the Network of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. Of those, 15 have fire systems. The only museum that does not yet have this system is Bahía de Caráquez, in Manabí, which was affected by the 6-degree earthquake on December 3, 2017. It is scheduled to be reopened in 2019.
Ivette Celi, director in charge of the Museum National of Ecuador, explained that having the fire system is an essential requirement that firefighters require to grant a habitability permit. The National Museum of Ecuador has an integral fire-fighting system with smoke sensors, alarms, fire cabinets, fire extinguishers, warning pushbuttons and a pressurized water pipeline system for feeding fireboxes.
Celi added that in the case of the reserves of the National Collection there is a system similar to the National Museum, with the difference that it is made up of chemical powder, since the historical and bibliographic archive has rigorous moisture controls.
“From the Undersecretariat of Social Memory we have asked the competent areas to make an assessment and comprehensive review of these systems to ensure optimal performance,” she said. (I)