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Frontpage News 2012 Saving history in partnership

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Saving history in partnership: protecting cultural heritage in Romania

  • One of Europe’s largest open air museums - the ASTRA museum in Sibiu - unveiled a new conservation and storage centre for cultural heritage objects on 25 March. The project has involved cooperation with 9 Norwegian cultural institutions.

    At the edge of the town of Sibiu in the Romanian region of Transylvania, the ASTRA Open Air Museum exhibits dwelling houses, farmstead buildings and cultural heritage monuments and artefacts across almost 100 hectares of forest. Abandoned windmills, watermills, wooden ferries, made redundant by Ceauşescu's policies of industrialisation, were collected from villages across the country and transported to ASTRA to be restored and preserved. Today, its cultural heritage collection comprises 146 buildings and 22,500 artefacts.


    But the benefits of a partnership go both ways. In October last year, a joint workshop was held in Sibiu to allow museum staff from both countries to share experiences and ideas on the promotion and conservation of cultural heritage. “We really wanted to invite the Norwegian museums to Romania so that they could get a more concrete idea about what they could learn from us,” says Avram. Representatives of six Norwegian cultural institutions attended.

    As well as facilitating exchange between craftworkers, the large number of museums engaged in the project also played a part in the success of the project, says Nöelle Poppe of the Norwegian Directorate of Cultural Heritage. “We learnt a huge amount about building networks and how best to use these in our work. It’s inspiring to see how much the Romanian museum staff have been able to achieve with enthusiasm and drive.”

    Cultural heritage as a source of local pride

    The EEA Grants has also financed the restoration of wooden architectural heritage at the museum. Eight wooden historical houses, previously stored in heaps of logs outside under plastic sheets, have been restored and assembled in the open air museum.

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  • Country:


    Project title:

    Conservation and restoration of the ethnographic heritage from ASTRA Museum - Dumbrava Sibiului

    Case number:


    Priority sector:

    Conservation of European cultural heritage



    Type & project assistance:

    Individual Project

    Project duration:

    24 months

    Project cost:

    € 2,916,238

    Grant rate:


    Grant agreement date:

    19 August 2009

    The purpose of the Project is to establish a centre for the conservation and restoration of Romanian ethnographic cultural heritage within the premises of the Open Air Astra Museum – Dumbrava Sibiului, with the overall objective of improving the protection and care of cultural heritage and its accessibility to the public. Reference is made to the application dated 11 June 2008, and to any subsequent correspondence with the Focal Point.

    The completed Project shall include the following activities and results:

    - construction and establishment of the 'Center for Conservation, Restoration and Valorisation of the Mobile Cultural Heritage' for conservation laboratories and storage facilities within the premises of the Open Air Astra Museum – ASTRA Centre for Heritage;

    - restoration of 45 items of hand-painted furniture;

    - reassembly of six wooden architectural heritage households / monuments;

    - preservation of 26 wooden historical traditional houses by a special surface hydrophobic waterproofing agent;

    - works for creation of a vertical water draining system, 350 m long, connecting the Centre to the existing sewerage system of the Open Air Astra Museum connected to the Sibiu sewerage system;

    - project management (coordination, monitoring and reporting, financial management and audit); and

    - publicity and information dissemination.

    The Project Promoter is the ASTRA Museum Complex. Subject to national law, the Project shall be implemented in partnership with SINTEF Building and Infrastructure Research Institute, Norway.

    The Focal Point shall ensure that the Sibiu County Council shall provide at least 15.58 percent of the estimated eligible Project cost as cash co-financing.