ICOM International Committee for Museum Security

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March 23, 2022

ICOM Poland launches initiative to support Ukrainian museum professionals arriving in Poland as Refugees

ICOM Poland launches initiative to support Ukrainian museum professionals arriving in Poland as Refugees.

See below letter outlining ICOM Poland’s initiative and guidance for offering support.

a PDF version of the letter is attached here: ICOM Poland appeal help us help Ukraine.

Dear Colleagues, Dear Friends,

In these dramatic days for Ukraine, the Polish Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM Poland) is asking for your support in our efforts to help Ukrainian museum professionals.

In the third week of the Russian aggression on Ukraine, Poland received over 1.7 million refugees, mainly women, children and the elderly. Extensive help is being offered by the Polish population and the local and state governments to assist them. They often arrive with few, if any, belongings and are in need of shelter, food, medical supplies and so on.

In Ukraine people are not only fighting the aggressor, but also try to protect and save the cultural heritage; museums, libraries, monuments, architectural gems. Polish museums and Ministry of Culture and national heritage are organising help for museums and cultural institutions in numerous Ukrainian cities.

What do we do?

ICOM Poland decided to focus on the needs of the museum personnel that found refuge in our country. With the assistance of ICOM General Secretariat at we established a Ukrainian speaking office and started to locate persons scattered throughout Polish cities. We plan to provide three-month individual grants to the museum professionals that will apply. these grants should help them to accommodate their first needs.

At the same time, our office will act as a contact point between the grantees and Polish museums and cultural institutions, so that they may find job and a welcoming professional milieu. The Polish state already simplified the necessary employment formalities to the minimum.

In order to provide these grants (approximately 850 EURO per month) we need to raise funds in the international milieu. The Polish state and private pockets are getting dry fast. We count on the support of all organisations that are involved with museums, cultural heritage, art history and humanitarian help.

How to contact us?

We are ICOM Poland, an NGO registered in Poland in the Country Court Registry KRS: 0000894842.

Address: Pl. Malachowskiego 3, 00-916 Warsaw Poland


Name of Bank:                                   Santander Bank Polska

Address:                                              al. Jana Pawla II 17, 00-854 Warszawa, Poland


IBAN NUMBER (EURO)                   PL85 1090 1056 0000 0001 4994 4413

IBAN NUMBER (USD)                      PL30 1090 1056 0000 0001 4994 4433

SWIFT CODE                                       WBKPPLPP

TITLE OF PAYMENT                          HELP UKRAINE



UPDATE from ICOM POLAND (25/03/2022)

Dear Colleagues,

numerous valuable incentives are spun into motion during the ongoing war waged on Ukraine by Russia – to help museum institutions and museum professionals in Ukraine preserve their cultural heritage. We observe many of them, as Poland is the neighboring country – and inevitably a lot of material help passes through our territory.

ICOM Poland met this week with dr Katarzyna Zalasinska, the director of the National Institute of Heritage (NID), the agency that was given the task by the Polish Ministry of Culture to coordinate in-kind help to Ukrainian museums. I think it might be useful to share the main points of our discussion and resulting agreement.

ICOM Poland is focusing on providing help to Ukrainian museum professionals who are refugees in our country, through setting up a small 3-month grant system and assistance in arranging a professional space within the local museum community. As donations begun to appear and the due procedures are almost completed, we will be able to kick-off the program at the end of March. All help is welcome – and we are preparing for a marathon, not a sprint length of the run.

The National Institute of Heritage (NID), however, is much better equipped to provide support through arranging logistics and transportation for all sorts of in-kind assistance to Ukrainian museum institutions and authorities responsible for cultural material heritage in cities. NID already dispatched some transports of packing and protecting material, fire extinguishers etc. to their points of contact in Ukraine – that including repackaging transports that came from other countries in Europe, including these gathered by ICOM NCs. Moreover, what is crucial, NID is also creating an updated database of real needs as reported by Ukrainian professionals on their respective sites.

We agreed that I will share some of the observations that NID made in the last days.

  • it is critical to verify first the real needs of Ukrainian museums. It happens that same materials arrive in abundance, while other ones are in real demand. NID is mapping these needs.
  • it makes more sense to purchase the desired materials the closer to Ukraine, the better, because of practical, transportation and costs reasons;
  • in Poland a number of such goods are either disappearing due to high demand, or the prices of some went significantly up. Ordering them in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic might be an option;
  • if there is a plan to use NID as a logistical partner, it is indispensable to agree on the method of packaging, transportation route (south-eastern Poland), timetable etc. They can help, but if they have to share the “export” responsibilities (that including customs at the border) – communication beforehand is a must.

ICOM Poland is also being approached by various bodies with the issues mentioned above. We will redirect all such on-kind incentives to NID. Their specially created mail address is I will appreciate forwarding this information throughout our ICOM network. Sorry for cross-posting.

with kind regards,

on behalf of Polish ICOM board,

Dr Piotr Rypson

Przewodniczący ICOM Polska

Chair, ICOM Poland