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PreHistory: The History of the Cultural Heritage Preservation in Belarus

(ICOMOS-Belarus Version)

This page was created within the framework of the "Heritage in Action" public campaign announced by the members of the ICOMOS-Belarus NC - an informal gathering of Belarusian experts in the field of cultural heritage preservation. We are professional conservators, museum workers, cultural managers and activists who live today in many countries of the world, united by the conscious need to develop Belarusian culture and heritage sector. 

We believe that cultural heritage is not merely old stones or folklore. First of all, heritage is the potential for the development of social, economic and, of course, cultural relations. We advocate seeking new forms of interpretation, new methods of preserving and restoring our heritage. We are convinced that the rich European and global experience of working with heritage is an endless source of inspiration for the relevant Belarusian field.

For more than 20 years that our initiative has been active, we have been involved in the organization of numerous summer schools, conferences, festivals, competitions and publications. Someday we will write our own detailed history, but for now our aim is to create a common broad history of preserving the cultural heritage of Belarus. 

This is what we do on this page! This archive is dedicated to creators, researchers, community initiatives and organizations that have contributed to the preservation of our heritage. Here we collect photos, memories, archival documents and scholar publications - everything that testifies to the collective work that Belarusians have done for decades to identify, preserve or restore architectural monuments or elements of intangible heritage. Starting from the 1920s, through the 1960s and 1990s, these people and organizations who worked with heritage actually recreated Belarus itself as an independent cultural space. And this work continues! 

The goal of this project is to collect and expose the history of the cultural heritage preservation in Belarus. We want to show that Belarusians have something to be proud of in the field of cultural heritage starting from the 1960s and also that we have passed the same difficult path, typical for other countries of the post-socialist region: Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic. So that we have common challenges and can rely on their experience while reforming the heritage sector in the new Belarus. 

For an inexplicable reason, until recently the history of these efforts was known only to a narrow circle of specialists. Devoting their lives to the preservation or research of the history of the heritage itself, almost none of the experts and witnesses of historical events set a goal to write the history of heritage preservation. We strive to recreate this gap and invite you to join us!

If you have questions or suggestions, if you keep valuable documents or photos that shed light on the history of preserving our heritage, please write to us: belarus.heritage.history@gmail.com

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