Press Release

The Anniversary of Notre-Dame’s Blaze Comes Amid Global Challenges to Heritage

NEW YORK – One year after the disastrous fire at Notre-Dame de Paris, World Monuments Fund (WMF) reflects upon this fire and efforts to recover amid a global pandemic, as well as crises around the world that continue to undermine humanity’s heritage sites.

Bénédicte de Montlaur, CEO of World Monuments Fund:

 “The anniversary of the fire at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris falls at an extremely complicated moment. The global pandemic has ground work to a halt, and extremely perilous work lies ahead for the reconstruction team – in particular, the removal of the scaffolding that surrounded the cathedral at the time of the fire and melted into its walls.

“The image of the cathedral standing empty and damaged continues to inspire people around the world to do all that we can to save it. In this time of great challenge, it is my hope that the same spirit of togetherness so many of us felt watching the flames a year ago will live on, encouraging nations and peoples to confront our collective challenges together, be they to challenges to global health or to world heritage.

“The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris reminds us of what makes heritage sites so special – especially in times of crisis. They nurture the soul and remind people of our collective strength. They bring communities together around symbols and landmarks of their common identity. And they provide people today with economic opportunities, as well as connections to the past and to our shared history.”

Notre-Dame de Paris, included on the 2020 World Monuments Watch, has had its most valuable works sent to the Louvre, and its stained glass stored in special conservation workshops. Structural support has been installed throughout the shell of the building, and a large crane at the cathedral now dominates the Paris skyline.

As we reflect this week on the road ahead for Notre-Dame, fire has significantly damaged another heritage site. On Monday, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church – part of Haiti’s Palace of Sans-Souci heritage site – caught fire, losing its distinctive 30-meter domed roof in the blaze. WMF is speaking with partners at this time to assess the building’s damage.


Press Contact:
Sean Piazza
VP of Communications

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