The TEFAF Museum Restoration Fund is established in 2012 in order to support and promote the professional restoration and related scholarly research of significant museum artworks. Championing art in all its forms, applications for its grants are open to museums from all over the world and artworks from any age. Each year, a maximum of €50.000 will be allocated to projects. The Committee of independent experts usually selects two winners to receive each € 25,000 to support their restoration project.
2021 The British Museum: The restoration of ancient Artefact damaged in 2020 Beirut port explosion
The British Museum and The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) announced an important collaboration to restore eight ancient glass vessels which were severely damaged in the Beirut port explosion in Lebanon on 4 August 2020.
The vessels, from the Roman and early Islamic periods, were on display in the Archaeological Museum at the American University of Beirut (AUB) when the explosion took place. The case they were in blew over from the force of the blast, shattering the glass objects. This new collaboration will see hundreds of the glass fragments painstakingly pieced back together and restored at the conservation laboratories at the British Museum in London.
The AUB Archaeological Museum lay 3.2 km from the port explosion, and sustained heavy damage to its windows and doors. The case the vessels were displayed in contained 72 Roman, Byzantine and Islamic period glass vessels. Most vessels were shattered beyond repair with only 15 being identified as salvageable. Of these, only eight are safe to travel to the British Museum, which has the facilities and expertise to restore and conserve these items.
Press Statement by TMRF Committee member Rachel Kaminsky on nomination “Roman-controlled Lebanon was an early center for glass blowing. The TMRF Selection Committee unanimously chose this project for several reasons: the eight works are museum-quality Roman, Byzantine and Islamic examples of ancient glass from Palestine, Syria and Lebanon; the project includes a training placement for a Lebanon-based conservator at the British Museum, where the works will be conserved and later exhibited; and to support the Archaeological Museum at the American University of Beirut (AUB), the third oldest museum in the Middle East, which sustained heavy damage in the August 2020 port explosion.”
Press statement by Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum “Like the rest of the world, we looked on in horror at the devastating scenes in Beirut in August last year. We immediately offered the assistance of the British Museum to colleagues in the city. As we mark one year since the tragedy, we’re pleased to be able to provide the expertise and resources of the British Museum to restore these important ancient objects so they can be enjoyed in Lebanon for many more years to come.”
Press Statement by Hidde van Seggelen, Chairman EC “The destruction of these works of art was a terrible consequence of a larger tragedy for the people of Beirut. We are proud to support the restoration of the glass vessels through TEFAF’s Museum Restoration Fund, as these objects hold immense historical, artistic and cultural significance. Their return to their rightful form is a powerful symbol of healing and resilience after disaster.”