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Cablegate: Ambasadorial Fund for Cultural Preservation

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BUCHAREST 000818

SIPDIS

ECA/P/C - MARIA P. KOUROUPAS, ECA/P/C - GRACHEL KUBAITIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECIN KPAO OEXC SCUL
SUBJECT: AMBASADORIAL FUND FOR CULTURAL PRESERVATION
FY-2005 PROPOSAL

REF: A) STATE 007967; B)TAUBER/KUBAITIS EMAILS

1. Post appreciates ECA/P/C indulgence. This is the
formal request for the project discussed in Ref B emails.
Charge has seen and approved this request.

2. GRANTEE:
The Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum (NVM)
Address: 28, Kiseleff Bv., sector 1, Bucharest, Romania
Phone: 011 4021 222.91.10
Fax: 011 4021. 222. 90. 68
E-mail: muzeul-satului@xnet.ro

3. PROPOSAL SUMMARY:

The NVM proposes the creation of the Dimitrie Gusti Digital
Library of Ethnographic Images to house and preserve
photographs and negatives on film and glass dating from the
period 1928 - 1936. More than 10,000 of these images,
taken of people, artifacts, and architectural objects, were
created during that period by the Sociological School of
Bucharest under the scientific supervision of Professor
Dimitrie Gusti, a highly respected Romanian scholar in this
field. This invaluable photographic treasure is currently
stored in the new headquarters building of the NVM, which
unfortunately posseses inadequate storage and conservation
materials, insufficient to prevent their continued decay.
Hence, this program will provide facilities for safe
storage of the existing images and digitization so that
they may be viewed via internet by scholars and the general
public.

4. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT AND PARTICIPANTS,
INCLUDING THE TIME FRAME FOR COMPLETION:

The project includes the following phases:

-- 10 March 2005 - 15 April 2005: Selection and
determination of best methods and materials to be used for
the preservation of different types of archival materials
(photos, slides, glass-negatives). This step is currently
underway in order to save time during the grant period;

-- 15 April 2005 - 31 August 2005: Curator and staff of NVM
complete final cataloging notes/captions for each picture
to be displayed on website;

-- 1 July 2005 - 30 November 2005: Digital
scanning/enhancement of the image archives. Simple
scanning can be done by NVM staff; enhancement/repair will
be done by experts at National Film Institute;

-- 1 July 2005 - 31 December 2005: actual physical
placement of the more than 10,000 photos, film negatives
and glass negatives in archival appropriate archival
storage;

-- 1 December 2005 - 28 February 2006: creation of the
software for the web-based digital library of the images
and loading of the images into the library.

Participants in Project:

-- Dr. Georgeta Stoica - General Manager of NVM;
-- Dr. Architect Iuliana Ciotoiu - Project Manager;
-- Anca Sarbu - Curator of the Archive;
-- Anca Mitran - Conservator;
-- Engineer Marius Neagu - Programmer.

5. AND 6. INDICATION OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CULTURAL
OBJECTS AND THE URGENCY OF THE PROJECT:

During the period 1928-1936, the Romanian sociologist
Dimitrie Gusti began a program of rural training in basic
hygiene and preventive health care for children and adults.
At the same, he became aware that the encroachments of
modernity were already transforming the rural culture in
ways that threatened the disappearance of its uniquely
Romanian material culture. Under his tutelage, students
and colleagues began photographing people, objects, and
architecture all over Romania. He convinced the King to
fund creation of a Village Museum where examples of
homesteads from throughout the country could be exhibited
and preserved. This was a fortuitous project. Subsequent
war, privation, and communist distortion suppressed or
destroyed many folkways -- from "acceptable" panpipe music
to the conduct of corn harvest festivals. Only "official
peasants" and state-approved material culture were
permitted for 40 years.

The NVM inherited the thousands of photos and field notes
that survived from Gusti's pre-war collection. These
images have been stored with care, but they are in
conditions that are contributing to their deterioration.
Although we cannot say how quickly the photos and negatives
will decay beyond useful value, it is clear that many will
need cleaning, conservation, and computer enhancement as
part of the digitization process if the public and scholars
are to benefit from their use.

7. and 8. IMPACT OF THE U.S. CONTRIBUTION AND BENEFIT TO
THE ADVANCEMENT OF U.S. FOREIGN POLICY OBJECTIVES

The NVM is a building a truly world-class complex of both
exhibits and archives. The exhibits include not only the
traditional homestead buildings collected over the past 50
years, but also over 50,000 objects from traditional dress
to games, from food preparation equipment to folk art.
Under the Museum's auspices, younger artisans are trained
in traditional techniques to preserve/restore the buildings
for posterity. And, at the Embassy's urging, the Museum
stepped up its search for international partners with which
to conduct joint programs and find new sources of donor
assistance. For example, the NVM will help the Embassy
host a regional seminar in June designed to develop
synergies and cross-border projects with sister museums
throughout S.E. Europe.

We share the Museum's sense of urgency to preserve these
images before they suffer further damage. First, this
project serves our overall interest in furthering mutual
understanding by making readily available to everyone in
the U.S. -- scholars, students, and those contemplating
tourism here -- some of the most evocative images of the
real Romania. Some 40 percent of the population still
makes their living from the land. Although some
modernization has taken place, a surprising amount of
ancient tools and habits survive that still charm the
visitor. Finally, the ready access to this visual memory
can help stimulate interest among Romania's young people to
take greater interest in the truth about their nation's
past -- including the contributions of minorities whose
distinctive subcultures are also captured in the Gusti
photo library. At a time when young people find it
"uncool" to be interested in "peasant culture," the value
of preserving these images can't be overestimated.

9. RESUME OF THE PROJECT DIRECTOR

Name: Iuliana Ciotoiu

Born: July 4, 1954, Bucharest, ROMANIA

Education: Architect, graduated from The Ion Mincu
Institute of Architecture, Bucharest

Academic title: Doctor of Architecture

Positions: Architect for the Village Museum 1977 - 1990;
Chief of Department for Documentary Archives and Databases
1990 - present

Foreign languages French good
English good

Activities: 27 years of involvement in several museum
activities and projects including:

-- Research on rural vernacular architecture (Chief of
Projects);

-- Research and documentation on rural/sustainable tourism;

-- Collections management for documentary archives;
heritage databases; and exhibitions.

-- Publications: 32 studies and papers presented or printed
in Romania; 8 papers presented at international meetings; 1
paper published abroad ("Romanian Traditional Architecture"
prepared for the Smithsonian Folk life Festival and
published by the Smithsonian Institution, 1999,
Washington);

Several internships and seminars in France, Netherlands,
and one in the U.S. under the auspices of the Getty Trust;

10. DETAILED BUDGET:

Individual conservation envelopes for photos and glass
negatives of varying sizes for 10,000 items: $6,500

Conservation storage furniture - 4 specialized storage
shelf units designed for ideal climate controlled storage:
$4,000

One programmable, high resolution scanner cable of printing
on several media, including film: $3,000
Microsoft Software licenses for digital imaging and editing
(paid by the NVM); Software programs (e.g. Photoshop, Corel
Draw): $1,400
Repair and restoration of damaged images conducted by
experts at the National Film Institute: $3,600

Personnel costs for scanning, digital imaging and editing,
as well as translation into English of the photo captions
for the website: $2,500
Internet Service Provider - paid by NVM
Project promotion - paid by NVM

TOTAL REQUESTED FROM USG: $21,000

11. OTHER FUNDING SOURCES: NVM budget

12. Name, telephone, fax number and e-mail address of
Post/commission action officers: CAO, Mark Tauber,
voice(4021) 210-16-03, fax(4021) 210-03-96;
tauberms@pd.state.gov; and Isabella Alexandrescu, Cultural
Assistant, tel: voice(4021) 210-1603 ext, 108; email:
alexandrescui@state.gov.
DELARE

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