I am sure many of you will have watched the news coverage of the fire at Notre Dame de Paris last night and shared the devastation everyone here in France and around the world felt seeing the damage inflicted on a most precious piece of world heritage.
Cultural heritage, whether it is built, tangible, intangible or documentary is incredibly precious and when it is damaged, stolen or lost, this has an incredible impact. Cultural heritage embodies not simply our history but our identities: collective and individual. The protection of that heritage is paramount and we cannot continue to only recognise its value when we almost lose it or it is lost.
It is thanks to the tireless efforts of the Parisian Fire brigade and cultural heritage professional with the Archdiocese of Paris that (so much of) the treasure that is Notre Dame and many treasures within it have been saved and are still being recovered. The International Council on Archives thanks them on behalf of its members for all they have achieved so far.
There is much work to do now in rebuilding the Cathedral and the International Council on Archives offers its support to the Ministry of Culture, the Direction générale des patrimoines along with the Archdiocese of Paris and, if it can assist in any way, is ready to offer the help of all its experts.
For those in the community who wish to support the rebuilding efforts for Notre Dame, the Fondation du Patrimoine has set up a page that is accepting donations: https://www.fondation-patrimoine.org/ The Fondation du Patrimoine is a French not-for-profit organisation created in 1996 to support and protect cultural heritage in France.
Dr Anthea Seles, ICA Secretary General