Seismic Protection of Museum Collections: Lessons Learned After the 1999 Earthquakes in Turkey

Ertürk, Nevra
Turkey has a long history of large earthquakes in three major fault zones that place two-thirds of the country. Following the two major earthquakes that struck the nortwestern part of Turkey in 1999, several attempts have been taken at hospitals, schools or administrative buildings. The two earthquakes prompted museum professionals and policymakers to consider measures to protect museum collections as well as buildings against earthquake. After the 1999 earthquakes, various projects, scientific researches, trainings and meetings were and are still being held on the seismic protection of museum collections and there are ongoing efforts. Seismic protection of museum collections is a relatively new topic in Turkey. Although the subject is on the agenda of museum professionals or engineers in some of the earthquake-prone countries such as USA, Japan, Greece, Italy and India in more than three decades, it is not represented enough in the world preservation/conservation literature. The paper aims to provide information about the challenges faced in Turkish museums before the 1999 earthquakes, and mitigation efforts taken at national and institutional levels in the last decade. The data is complemented with two questionnaire surveys, as well as literature review and observations. It concludes with suggestions that might be applied to other earthquake-prone countries which have similar problems. The paper provides an input to the literature through the examples of mitigation efforts in Turkish museums and suggestions for future actions.


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Citation Formats
N. Ertürk, “Seismic Protection of Museum Collections: Lessons Learned After the 1999 Earthquakes in Turkey,” ODTÜ Mimarlık Fakültesi Dergisi, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 289–300, 2012, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: