UNESCO plans to create a virtual museum of stolen cultural artifacts

Anhelina Sheremet
UNESCO plans to create a virtual museum of stolen cultural artifacts

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay meeting with architect Francis Querét.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has announced plans to create the first virtual museum of stolen cultural property. Its aim is to raise peopleʼs awareness of the importance of cultural heritage.

This is reported by "The Guardian".

The virtual museum worth $2.5 million was created together with the international police organization Interpol. Its database of cultural property stolen from museums, collections and archaeological sites around the world includes more than 52 000 items. The museum should "open" in 2025.

Visitors will be able to move through a series of virtual spaces containing detailed three-dimensional images of artifacts, each of which is accompanied by information about it. UNESCO expects to be able to name the items that will make up the initial collection shortly before the museum opens.

"Behind every stolen work or fragment lies a piece of history, an identity that was taken from its custodians. Our aim is to re-focus attention on these works and restore communitiesʼ right to access their heritage," noted UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulet.

Logically, Azoulay stated, the ultimate purpose of such a museumʼs existence should be its disappearance. The architect of the project Francis Kere said that the project is designed to "awaken the imagination". The architect designed a virtual "ramp" inside the globe, connecting regions, countries, cultures and 600 artifacts that will make up the first collection. The most difficult task was to create scaled 3D images of the artifacts, many of which have no physical record other than a small black and white photograph.