Crisis inventory and leap to digitalisation of museum registers

Implementation period: September 2022 – December 2023.Donor: European Union represented by the European Commission (contracting authority), project code: NDICI-THE-NEAR/2022/439-011Budget: 267,360 EURPerformer: Tustan NGOCo-partners: Non-governmental organization "Center for development of museum affairs", Administration of the state historical and cultural reserve "Tustan".
The project is aimed at overcoming the crisis situation and forcing the reform of museum accounting in Ukraine, as well as preparing materials for an emergency assessment of museum losses due to Russian aggression and ensuring the ability of museums to carry out effective digital accounting of museum collections.
The war, which began in Ukraine in 2014 and entered a full-scale phase in February 2022, exposed the vulnerability of the existing approach to accounting for the state part of the museum fund in Ukraine. During the 9 years of Russian military aggression, about 22% of the museums of the Ukrainian state museum fund, which is 554 museums, are still or have been under temporary occupation for some time, dozens were damaged during shelling. The amount of losses is only being calculated, although it is already clear that the battle for the return of cultural property to the homeland will continue for a long time, and some objects have been lost forever. The lack of a unified state register of national cultural heritage only complicates the situation.
During the implementation of the project, an inventory of digital media with digitised accounting books collected by the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine in 2014–2015 will be carried out, and their contents will be transferred to cloud storage. It is also planned to create a pilot Center for Digitisation of Museum Funds with the involvement of 4 museums of different types and with different types of exhibits, in order to develop a universal method of creating digital registers of museum collections with its further distribution to other museums, archives, and book collections. In order to spread the experience of the Project and provide access to modern knowledge to museum employees, thematic trainings will be held.
Implementation of the project will be one of the important steps in reforming the museum accounting system. Its value lies in the fact that the planned measures will be aimed specifically at the grassroots level of the museum system – the institution where data about museum collections should directly appear, and will help speed up the process of digitisation of museum collections, increasing the capacity of museums and museum specialists. 

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