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July 13, 2000


- The Museum Security network DISCLAIMER has been updated
- Workshop on disaster training
- Mystery of how Mata Hari lost her head (disappeared from macabre museum)
- A Bottle of Coca-Cola, Or A Piece of Local Cultural Property in Paris?

From: Megan Dennis

Workshop on disaster training

Train the Trainers--Emergency Response Workshops

Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (FAIC) announces grant to train emergency response workshop trainers

The FAIC has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to conduct Emergency Response Workshops. Ten individuals from related disciplines, such as conservators, registrars, collections care managers, archivists, archaeologists, state historic preservation officers or staff, curators, librarians, Civil Affairs officers, historic preservation architects and professional emergency responders will be chosen from a pool of applicants who have demonstrated excellence and experience in previous training or teaching activities, and have a background or interest in emergency response. The ten trainers will be chosen to represent a professionally and geographically diverse group of people. The instructors for the Emergency Response Workshops will be Jane Hutchins and Barbara Roberts, both of whom have extensive experience in disaster training.
The initial workshop will consist of a four-day "Train the Trainers" session to be held in the fall of 2000. Expenses for the "Train the Trainers" workshop participants will be paid including, airfare, hotel and per diem. The ten trainers will be expected to conduct a workshop in the spring or fall of 2001, and must agree to make every effort to conduct disaster workshops in the future. Instructors, Jane Hutchins and Barbara Roberts, will monitor the workshops in 2001. The second phase of the program will include a series of five workshops in the spring and fall of 2001 that will be open to seventy-five participants. Applications for the second phase will be available in late summer for the disaster workshops in 2001. Expenses for these workshops will also be covered through NEH funding.
Guidelines and applications for the "Train the Trainers" session will be available on June 14, 2000 from FAIC. Applications must be postmarked by August 1, 2000 with notification of selected trainers on or before September 5, 2000.
For additional information regarding the Emergency Response Workshops, please contact
1717 K Street, NW, Suite 200
Washington DC 20006
Fax: 202-452-9328
Megan M. Dennis
Marketing Manager
American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works

Mystery of how Mata Hari lost her head (disappeared from macabre museum)

Famed as the greatest beauty of her day, Mata Hari exploited her charms as a dancer and was executed for spying Photograph: AP © FRENCH scientists are baffled by the disappearance of Mata Hari's head from a collection of the remains of notorious criminals. The loss came to light this month after a threat by the Government to close the Museum of Anatomy in Paris, which houses the mummified heads of about 100 victims of the firing squad and guillotine. The items are among 5,802 dissected and conserved body parts used by 19th and early 20th-century medical professors as teaching aids. The loss emerged when Le Figaro included her in a list of the celebrity skulls when it reported on the Education Ministry's plan to shut down the museum. But Paul de Saint-Maur, a Parisian professor of medicine, drew attention to the disappearance of what should be the museum's most eye-catching exhibit - the sensuous and enigmatic Mata Hari. Born in The Netherlands in 1876, Margaretha Zelle, as she was officially known, was executed by firing squad in France 41 years after being convicted, at a rigged trial behind closed doors, of spying for Germany. A professional dancer specialising in Indian and Javanese performances, she was famed as the most beautiful woman of her age. She turned to spying after the breakdown of her marriage to a Scottish army captain, Rudolph MacLeod. Boasting charms that few men could resist, Mata Hari, whose name meant "eye of a new dawn" in the Malay and Indonesian vernacular, proved to be a powerful weapon in the intelligence intrigues of the First World War. According to Leon Schirmann, a barrister and author of a recent book, L'Affaire Mata Hari, she was working as a double agent for France when she was framed by Parisian counter-espionage services keen to pull off a coup to justify their expanding budget. On October 15, 1917, she was executed in Vincennes forest outside Paris. Like other criminals, her head was severed from her body and taken to the Museum of Anatomy. Professor de Saint-Maur, 63, said: "I can remember as a medical student seeing the head of a red-haired woman that everyone said was the Mata Hari." His memory has proved to be accurate. Roger Saban, curator of the museum, found a written record of the arrival of Mata Hari's remains in 1918. That, too, has disappeared since the Second World War. "They are certainly not in the museum now and no one knows where they could be," Professor Saban said. There is speculation that her head was stolen by an admirer when the museum moved to its present site in the Rue des Saint-Pères in 1954. Professor Saban fears that if the Education Ministry proceeds with its threat to close the museum, other exhibits in the macabre collection could vanish as well. "We have the history of medicine here, a range of techniques that were used to dissect and preserve bodies in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is of enormous intellectual and scientific interest," he said. The collection is also of interest to historians of criminology, since the only bodies available to doctors in the 18th century were those of vagrants and criminals. Among the notorious people included in the collection is the skull of Joseph Fieschi, who killed 18 people but missed his target during an attempt to assassinate King Louis-Philippe in 1835; and the remains of Pierre-François Lacenaire, a well-known dandy who became part of French folklore in 1832 when he murdered a bank clerk in Paris. The exhibits have been preserved by the use of wax masks, mercury and other chemicals. Some of the faces are serene in death while others express the horror of their execution. The skin of one unknown criminal was peeled off the face and dried; it remains intact almost 200 years later. "But this extraordinary history would be lost for ever if the Education Ministry throws us out of this building," Professor Saban said.
The museum, thought to be the only one of its kind left in the world, is hidden away on the eighth floor of a Paris university building and can be visited only by appointment.
The museum is located at 45 Rue des Saint-Pères, 6th Arrondissement, Paris. Telephone: 00 331 42 86 20 47

From: "He Shuzhong"

A Bottle of Coca-Cola, Or A Piece of Local Cultural Property in Paris?

Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2000 15:01:48 +0800
A Bottle of Coca-Cola, Or A Piece of Local Cultural Property in Paris? "What can I do in Paris with only 15 FF?". "Tip a waiter, or drink a bottle of coca-cola at a bar." A lovely lady answered. However, there is another use: I bought a piece of local cultural property with the 15 FF in an old books store nearby UNESCO Headquarter last week! It was an old book named as LES JEUDIS DE MADAME CHARBONNEAU, written by ARMAND DE PONTMARTIN, published in Paris in 1862. It is in very good condition and looks so solemn! Unfortunately, the dealer sold it just like any usual item. She did not tell me any information about this cultural property during the trading and even did not give me a receipt. I am not an expert on French cultural heritage law, but as far as I know, according to the French Decree of 3 March 1981, the dealer should give the purchaser an invoice or receipt and tell him the nature, composition, origin and the age of the items sold. I also found many old books published 100 years ago in Paris which the prices were 20-50 FF at the beautiful store. The cheapest old book was only 10 FF. My local friend told me that there were a lot of such old book stores in Paris. 15 FF is a large sum of money for the poor people in Africa or in China, but it means nothing for the local people in Paris. However, does an old book published in 1862 also mean nothing just like a bottle of coca-cola? In many countries, coca-cola is more important and more expensive than local cultural heritage. But I really hope it were not the situation in Paris, since French people are, in my memory, most appreciative to cultural heritage in the world.
"He Shuzhong"