Five Years After the Fire: Notre-Dame de Paris and the Largest Restoration Project of the Century

2024 Paul Mellon Lecture

Join World Monuments Fund (WMF) and Villa Albertine for a discussion on the biggest restoration project of the twenty-first century

Five years after the devastating fire at Notre-Dame of Paris, World Monuments Fund (WMF) and Villa Albertine invite you to attend the 2024 Paul Mellon Lecture on the extraordinary project to reconstruct this icon of French medieval architecture. Taking place as part of the Heritage Speaks series, the event will begin with a tribute to Notre-Dame by Barry Bergdoll, Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, and will be followed by a panel discussion on the project to rebuild the cathedral and enhance fire protection at similar cultural heritage sites worldwide.

Guest speakers will include Rima Abdul Malak, former Minister of Culture of France and culture advisor to President Macron;  Lindsay S. Cook, architectural historian and specialist in medieval European architecture; Séverine Lepape, director of the Musée de Cluny; Matteo Pellegrino, carpenter at Maison Perrault; and Joseph Pfeifer, first deputy commissioner of the New York City Fire Department.  

Date: Thursday, April 18, 2024
Time: 6:00 pm ET
Location: Villa Albertine Headquarters, 972 Fifth Avenue, New York, US 10075

In-person registration for this event is now closed. You can view the event live stream starting at 6:00 pm ET at this link.

The Paul Mellon Lecture at World Monuments Fund is made possible, in part, by the Paul Mellon Education Fund. 

About the Speakers


Rima Abdul Malak

Former Minister of Culture of France and culture advisor to President Macron 

Rima Abdul Malak served as Minister of Culture of France from May 2022 to January 2024, where she advanced the Ministry’s mission of safeguarding, protecting, and enhancing cultural heritage in all its components and encouraging the creation of works of art and spirit. Prior to joining the Ministry of Culture, she served as culture advisor to the President of the Republic for two and a half years, deploying measures to help the cultural sector in the face of the pandemic and facilitate the implementation of the cultural policy promoted by President Macron. Malak has also previously served as cultural attaché at the French Embassy in New York, cultural advisor to the Mayor of Paris, and head of the current music division at Culturesfrance (now known as the French Institute).


Barry Bergdoll

Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University

Barry Bergdoll is the Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History at Columbia University. Professor Bergdoll’s broad interests center on modern architectural history. Trained in art history rather than architecture, he has an approach most closely allied with cultural history and the history and sociology of professions. He has studied questions of the politics of cultural representation in architecture, the larger ideological content of nineteenth-century architectural theory, and the changing role of both architecture as a profession and architecture as a cultural product in nineteenth-century European society. In exhibitions at the Canadian Centre for Architecture and at the Museum of Modern Art, where he served as Philip Johnson Chief Curator from 2007 to 2013, Bergdoll has offered a series of exhibitions intended to offer more inclusive visions of subjects from Mies van der Rohe (and his relationship to garden reform and landscape), the Bauhaus, Henri Labrouste, Le Corbusier, Latin American post-war architecture, and most recently Frank Lloyd Wright.


Lindsay S. Cook

Architectural Historian, Penn State University

Lindsay S. Cook is an architectural historian, medievalist, digital humanist, translator, and digital preservation advocate. A specialist in medieval European architecture, Dr. Cook’s current research addresses architectural and artistic responses to the Gothic cathedral Notre-Dame of Paris, medievalism in African American architecture, medieval architectural space, and digital and material approaches to the valorization, conservation, and restoration of cultural heritage. She is the translator of Notre Dame Cathedral: Nine Centuries of History (Penn State, 2020), and her research on medieval, early modern, modern, and contemporary histories of Notre-Dame has recently appeared in the journals Future Anterior and Different Visions and the edited volume The Analysis of Gothic Architecture (Brill, 2023). Dr. Cook is a board member of the scholarly association Scientifiques de Notre-Dame and editor of The Notre-Dame Translation Project, which makes open-educational resources about the history, conservation, and restoration of Notre-Dame following the catastrophic 2019 fire available to students and the general public.


Séverine Lepape

Director of the Musée de Cluny

Séverine Lepape has served as Director of Musée de Cluny – National Museum of the Middle Ages since September 2019. Since 2014, Séverine Lepape has been a curator at the Musée du Louvre, specifically in the Department of Graphic Arts, where she oversees the Edmond de Rothschild collection. As an archivist-palaeographer specializing in illumination and printmaking, she holds a doctorate in medieval history from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) under the supervision of Jean-Claude Schmitt. Prior to her position at the Musée du Louvre, she worked at the Bibliothèque nationale de France from 2005 to 2014, initially as the curator of prints and drawings from the 15th to 16th centuries and later as the head of the Reserve Department of Prints and Photography. Madame Lepape is the author of numerous exhibition catalogs and reference works. She has also taught at several institutions, including the École du Louvre, École nationale des Chartes, and the Institut national du patrimoine.

A specialist in medieval iconography and Northern Europe and French graphic arts of the 15th and 16th centuries, she has published numerous acclaimed scholarly articles and books. She has curated numerous exhibitions, including “Mystérieux Coffrets” (Mysterious Coffers, Musée de Cluny, 2019-2020). 


Joseph Pfeifer

First deputy commissioner of the New York City Fire Department

Joseph Pfeifer currently serves as second in command at the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). While at FDNY, Pfeifer served for 38 years. He was the Chief of Counterterrorism and Emergency Preparedness, shaping strategic planning, intelligence sharing, and interagency response. He is the founding director of FDNY’s Center for Terrorism and Disaster Preparedness. As a Battalion Chief on September 11th, he was the first Chief to respond to the World Trade Center attacks. Pfeifer currently serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor in Columbia University’s the School of International Public Affairs and the Director of Crisis Leadership at the Columbia Climate School’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness. He is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, teaching several executive education programs on crisis leadership and leading research teams to examine the preparedness and response of international cities to extreme events, and at the Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point, teaching cadets at the U.S. Military Academy.


Matteo Pellegrino

Carpenter at Maison Perrault


About the Paul Mellon Lecture

Inaugurated in 2003, the Paul Mellon Lecture is supported by the Paul Mellon Education Fund and enables audiences to learn about critical issues in the field of cultural heritage.

Past Mellon Lectures include James Cuno exploring the link between cultural heritage destruction and mass atrocities; Kwame Anthony Appiah discussing cultural heritage and African identity; Kent Weeks considering the challenges of tourism management in Egypt's Valley of the Kings; Charles Dempsey on the history of the Carracci Gallery in Rome's Farnese Palace; and Anna Somers Cocks on the impact of ever-increasing tourist numbers in Venice.