The blue shield distinctive emblem is a protective symbol used during armed conflicts. Its use is regulated at all times by national law, international humanitarian law, and customary law, through the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, and its Second Protocol of 1999.
“Having a consistent tool that prepares responders for crisis is very important. The blue shield is an internationally recognised emblem that identifies important objects that should be protected in a conflict – those preparations can also help in disaster and crisis. Blue Shield was delighted to support this initiative – sometimes it’s the smallest practical tools that can make a big difference”.
– Blue Shield International
The tag was developed in coordination with the Austrian Emergency-Platform for Museums and Libraries and the Historical Monuments Office under the conditions of the Austrian Federal Fire Brigade Association. It will be used in all museums in Austria: many regional responders have already undergone training and exercises.
The website also provides guidance for prioritizing collections and for evacuating them safely.
“Too often our heritage is lost because we simply weren’t prepared. We encourage anyone responsible for any type of collections to think about emergency response. Once there is a crisis, it’s far too late. Only by being proactive in peacetime, by prioritising collections, and training with emergency responders, can we protect the items we hold in trust. As those who wrote the 1954 Hague Convention knew, “damage to cultural property belonging to any people whatsoever means damage to the cultural heritage of all mankind, since each people makes its contribution to the culture of the world; [so …] the preservation of the cultural heritage is of great importance”. I hope this tool helps protect collections into the future”.
– Dr Emma Cunliffe, co-editor of Safeguarding in the 1954 Hague Convention: All Possible Steps?
[Boydell Press, 2022]
Source: Blue Shield International
Get the details on the ICOM Austria website