Restoration is like resuscitation, only the subject of it is not a man on the verge of life and death, but rather a man made object. Even if all the rules of the storage are followed, the museums can not guarantee the full and eternal preservation of the object. In addition, in the process of acquisition, the museum can become the owner of objects in a dire condition.
Sometimes artifacts come in pieces in need of reconstruction. This requires measures to restore the object or at least conditions to keep it in the form in which it was received. There is more than 100 museums in the country and there is plenty of work for restorers.
What are they currently working on? Correspondents of Uzbekistan Today decided to find out by researching publications.
The most sensational story that came to light was from the Geological Museum, which is located in the capital. Over the past two years they were engaged in identification and conservation of the remains of arhidiskodon found in Tashkent region. To save the tusks and teeth of this ancient animal, the research center of Polymer Chemistry and Physics at the National University of Uzbekistan developed a special polymer liquid. In general, all ended quite well, today the remains are presented in the main exhibition of the museum.
There are many publications about the activities of joint expeditions. In Samarkand, Uzbek-French expedition was engaged in the restoration of the Warhuman palace wall painting in the museum of Afrasiab. With the lapse of time, the museum exhibit is under threat of destruction, so the priceless frescoes are transferred on to a new polymer base for preservation. Uzbek-Australian expedition works in Nukus. The Research Institute for the Humanities is engaged in conservation of wall paintings, recently excavated in the palace of Khorezm rulers.
There are a few mentions of restorations from the State Museum of Karakalpakstan named after Savitsky, which is considered the best in the country. The 80th anniversary of Alvin Shpady, which was celebrated last year was mentioned in the publications about the museum. Widely publicized is the restoration of the historic treasure found near Tashkent, which is now kept in the State Museum of History of Uzbekistan.
We felt that, it was not enough information, and decided to complete the picture, taking a ride to the museums of the country. As a result, we discovered many problems that museum administration has to deal with in regard to the restoration of museum exhibits. Museum experts said that it is difficult to purchase restorative materials, modern restoration equipment. There is also a lack of qualified personnel. However, all the leaders were united by a firm conviction that the restoration workshops are needed and this art must be developed, otherwise priceless cultural heritage will be lost.
Despite all the difficulties many museums seek to create and develop the relevant units.
“There are more than 270 thousand units in our museum. Among them are the richest collections of archeology, numismatics, ethnography, real relics, archive documents of modern and contemporary history, scientific library with unique editions from XIX-XX centuries and earlier manuscripts. Many of the materials that are stored in our collections are in need of restoration and preservation, not to mention the fact that all museum exhibits require careful maintenance,” said the director of the Museum of History of Uzbekistan, Jannat Ismailova. “To preserve this rich heritage, we created a new restoration workshop five years ago. However, it is still very difficult to deal with personnel matters, despite the fact that we are actively trying to recruit college graduates. We have good restorers of ceramics, however we still don’t have good professionals to restore textile, numismatics.”
“Our museum is located on a very fertile ground for archaeologists of Surkhandarya region, almost all the findings fall into our funds. Often the material demands conservation,” said the director of the Archaeological Museum of Termez, Zebinisso Alimardanova. “With the support of Japanese colleagues, we began work on reconstruction, we will also publish an Electronic Catalogue. We plan to create a modern restoration workshop with advanced equipment and powerful personnel.”
The issues of restoration were seriously discussed in 2006 at an international conference in Tashkent. Even then, as a way to solve many of the problems we proposed to create a National Center for Conservation and Restoration, by analogy with the best foreign experience. The project was not implemented yet.
However, this does not mean that the issue is forgotten. Eighteen months ago, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, a working group was tasked to develop a strategy for the creation of the Republican Centre for Restoration and Conservation. This group includes, a well-known Doctor of Art, Kamola Akilova.
“Today, no one disputes the fact that the country needs to raise and promote restorative business,” says Kamola Akilova. “Therefore, we approach the development of the Republican Centre for Restoration and Conservation very seriously. To open it, we need good stable financing for the acquisition of modern high-tech equipment. One of the challenges that we are facing is training. We can not do it, without cooperation of the largest and leading museums, such as the Louvre, the specialized centers of the State Research Institute of Restoration in Moscow.
Today, the proposals for such collaboration are being considered by the Ministry of Culture and Sports. It is our deepest conviction that we should move on to the practical implementation of the project.”