Project Start: Holistic Risk Management at the Rathgen-Forschungslabor


The Holistic Risk Management project, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM), has been launched at the Rathgen-Forschungslabor (Rathgen Research Laboratory) of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin to better prepare museum collections, libraries and archives for current and future risk scenarios.

Through this initiative, the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (SPK, Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) is responding to the threat posed to its museums, libraries and archives by, for example, climate-change-related hazards such as flooding and severe weather, as well as by other risks, including fire, theft, vandalism, conflict and acts of terrorism. Given that cultural heritage facilities are often among the larger energy consumers in the urban context, risk management also plays an important role in developing and testing options for ecological transformations.

Since October 2020, an internal, cross-institutional risk management task force led by the Rathgen-Forschungslabor has been working to improve the crisis resilience of all SPK venues. Measures have included distributing emergency kits and appointing risk managers at all of its affiliated institutions. The new project is now coordinating and further developing this task force.

Cultural heritage institutions have long been aware of the climate crisis. The severe rainfall events in recent weeks in Berlin, accompanied by flooding and water intrusions – which also endangered collection holdings – illustrate once again how important it is for cultural institutions to sustainably prepare themselves for risks in times of climate change. I am particularly pleased to have been able to engage the experienced cultural property protection experts Alke Dohrmann and Almut Siegel for the project coordination. They have been developing the internationally recognised SiLK – SicherheitsLeitfaden Kulturgut (Cultural Property Security Guidelines) since 2006 and remain responsible for its continued development.

Stefan Simon, director of the Rathgen-Forschungslabor

Questions about the project can be directed to the Rathgen-Forschungslabor: rf[at]