Lessons from the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest

Sunday - 05/08/2018 11:57

The Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest (hereinafter referred to as Lesvos Museum), built in 1994, is a community-based entity, working under the auspice of the Greece Ministry of Culture. The museum with 23 staff in five departments is missioned to manage UNESCO Global Geopark of the Lesvos Petrified Forest, which includes the research, conservation and promotion of natural heritage of the Lesvos Petrified Forest.
The construction costs of EUR 2.74 million was funded by Greek government and Euporean Union [[1]], covering the indoor and outdoor exhibition areas and other supporting facilities, properly laid out on an area of 1 ha.
What special of Lesvos museum is its mandate not only for exhibition but also for the research and promotion of the natural heritage of the Lesvos Petrified Forest. The later is done through a storage, a laboratory for restoration, an earthquake simulation system, a conference hall accommodating 400 persons, a sourvenir shop and a catering area.

A wide range of fundraising activities are undertaken by the museum. In addition to regular activities such as exhibition generating income from tickets and providing guides to geotours, Lesvos Museum has been proactive in developing geoheritage conservation projects sourcing funds from European Union. With diversified income sources, not only functioning without relying on government budget, the museum is able to cooperate with local and international schools to deliver not-for-profit activities. These activites are for the research and conservation purpose, including study tours for local and international students, intensive training course for UNESCO designated and aspiring geoparks.

Lesvos museum is commissioned to manage the Lesvos Petrified Forest UNESCO Global Geopark with certain authority. As a managing body of Lesvos UGGp on an area of 1,600 km2, the museum is engaged in all construction activities in the area, including those of private houses and public facilities to ensure the architecture and cultural heritage is properly respected and conserved. It is noted that in order to undertake this important role, aside its staff expertise, the museum has cooperated closedly with academies and universities in relevant sectors.

Locating on an area similar to that of Quang Ngai Provincial Museum, within decent staff, Lesvos museum has generated diversified and sustained income sources, which can be a good example for the exhibition and operation. Furthermore, this is worth considering the socialization of the Quang Ngai Provincial Museum to turn this to be a main information center for the Quang Ngai aspiring geopark. Also, Quang Ngai museum can be commissioned as a managing body of the aspiring geopark, either during the development of the dossier or as soon as the aspiring geopark granted UGGp label. With special authority endowed, automomy in financing and operating, it is quite confident that the museum and Quang Ngai geopark can be well functioned and developed sustainably.


[1] Handouts for the intensive course on UNESCO Global Geopark in Lesvos, Greece, 2018.


Author: Bùi Nhật Trường

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