Marking three months since the fire that engulfed Notre-Dame de Paris, Europeana – the European Union’s digital platform for cultural heritage – launches the online exhibition Heritage at Risk. Heritage at Risk uses unique digital content to explore the threats – natural and man-made – facing heritage sites from ancient times until today. And it highlights the role that digital technology can play in helping the cultural heritage sector meet restoration challenges in the 21st century – including Notre-Dame.
European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel says:
‘The fire of Notre-Dame highlighted once more the need to preserve, record and protect our European cultural heritage. Reactions all over Europe show how important it is for our citizens and society. More than ever, we are making progress in harnessing the power of digital for our cultural heritage, but we must keep working together to support the sector in this endeavour.’
From the Pantheon in Greece to the Stari Most in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and from fire and flood, to war and the human footprint, the exhibition traces the troubled history of some of Europe’s most iconic heritage sites. Its unique content also demonstrates that the cultural heritage sector already holds some of the answers to the challenge of preserving and restoring endangered sites.
Harry Verwayen, Executive Director of Europeana, says:
‘Our museums, archives and libraries contain invaluable, often unique, records of heritage sites throughout their history – architectural drawings, photographs, paintings and written descriptions. Cultural heritage organisations are joining forces and adopting new technologies to preserve and share information about our heritage. By digitising their valuable collections and making the data available to experts, they help to safeguard our heritage sites. In the face of today’s complex challenges, the task seems more urgent than ever.’
The exhibition’s final chapter focuses on Notre-Dame de Paris, and highlights how digital technology is a key part of the conversation around its latest restoration – with technologies such as 3D scanning and modelling, and virtual and augmented reality, promising new ways to help the sector in preserving and showcasing cultural heritage.
The public is invited to visit Heritage at Risk, available online in seven languages, from 15 July.