Safeguarding the photography collection of the Saint Joseph University

Beirut, Lebanon

Amount $ 75 000

Years 2022 - 2023

Operator Institut national du patrimoine (France)

project status Ongoing

Type of grant Emergency relief

(c) Benjamin Carcaud, INP
(c) Alice de Bremond d'Ars
(c) Photothèque de la Bibliothèque orientale
(c) Bertrand Sainte-Marthe

The image library of Saint-Joseph University in Beirut (USJ) owns a large collection of photographs and postcards from the 19th and 20th centuries (totaling approximately 250,000 objects). These documents, already in a precarious state of preservation before the 4 August 2020 blast, were further endangered following the explosion, which resulted in the accumulation of additional dust, disruptions to the archive’s climate control system, and vibrations that put certain parts of the collections at risk.

The objective of the project is to assess the damage caused to the collection, design a rehabilitation plan, and implement the necessary measures to preserve the documents (cleaning, storage, and restoration). To ensure the continuation of the project, museum staff are being trained in archival sciences on site by the Institut National du Patrimoine (INP) and the French National Archives.