Louvre Museum Offers Protection for Endangered Cultural Treasures

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War doesn't just destroy cities, homes, and lives—it also destroys culture. As The Guardian reports, the Louvre Museum in Paris has offered to protect art treasures rescued from conflict-ridden countries in a new conservation and storage facility in northern France.

French President François Hollande announced the proposal earlier this week while unveiling a plaque for the Louvre’s new building in Liévin, France, scheduled to open in 2019. “The principle role of the Liévin site will be to house the Louvre Museum’s stored collection," The Guardian quoted Hollande as saying, "... but it could have another role, sadly linked to the events, dramas, tragedies that we see in the world.” The president was referencing the recent destruction of cultural and UNESCO-World Heritage sites in Syria and Iraq by terrorist groups like The Islamic State (ISIS).

Hollande intentionally chose to reveal the plaque while visiting the Louvre-Lens, a regional branch of the Louvre in Pas-de-Calais. He was there to open a new exhibition, "History Begins in Mesopotamia," which runs through January 2017. “This show has not come about by chance,” Holland said (as quoted in The Art Newspaper). “We wanted it at the moment when heritage was under threat in Iraq and Syria.”

Hollande plans to officially extend The Louvre’s offer of protection at a French-led international conference on the effects of terrorism on culture, held in December at the new Louvre Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. There, representatives from about 40 countries will discuss ways to combat antiquities trafficking, memorialize destroyed sites, and rescue and restore endangered cultural artifacts from other countries. 

[h/t The Guardian]