February 20, 2018

Getty Museum collaborates on Seismic Mitigation Research project with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and The National Technical University of Athens

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Desiree Zenowich
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Getty Communications



            LOS ANGELES – The J. Paul Getty Museum, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, and the National Technical University of Athens announced today the signing of a research agreement to collaborate on a project to protect museum objects in the event of an earthquake, beginning with the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

            This initiative is the latest to stem from the framework for cultural cooperation between the Getty and the Hellenic Republic Ministry of Culture and Sports signed in 2011. Previous collaborations have included the 2012 long-term loan of a Greek marble relief depicting Antiochos and Herakles; the 2014 exhibition Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections at the Getty Villa; and the loan of a number of important sculptures from Greece to the international exhibition Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World in 2015-2016. Greece is also a major lender to the Getty’s forthcoming exhibition Beyond the Nile: Egypt and the Classical World (opening March 27, 2018).

            The research project, which is funded by the Getty Trust, seeks to improve the current Getty-designed isolator mounts that mitigate the risk of damage from shaking during an earthquake. In collaboration with the Getty, the National Technical University of Athens will conduct research and analytical studies to simulate accurately the dynamic behavior of the current isolator design and identify possible enhancements and improvements. The project will then construct a new prototype, with the final design being installed on a select number of objects at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

            “For nearly three decades, the J. Paul Getty Museum has played a leading role in the development of seismic mitigation bases for museum collections, which we have shared with a number of institutions around the world,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Through this latest agreement with our colleagues in Greece, we look forward to improving on the current technology and ultimately installing up to ten bases in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens to protect some of its masterpieces of ancient sculpture. While this will be of immediate benefit to our Greek colleagues, the results of this research will also benefit museums around the globe.”

            “The Hellenic Republic and the Getty share an interest and concern in protecting museum collections from earthquake damage,” says Dr. Elena Korka, Head of the Directorate of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage. “The project involves the National Archaeological Museum of Athens as a pilot program, which shall also benefit other regional museums of Greece.”

Adds Professor Georgios Spyropoulos, Directorate General of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage and Head of Department of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and Museums of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Corinth, “Bringing the technology created by the Getty to museums in Greece is critical to protecting our country’s cultural heritage. This exchange of scholars and expertise will expand the world’s understanding of Greek culture and promote the values and spirit of ancient Greek civilization.”

            The seismic mitigation project is scheduled to be completed over a period of eighteen months.


The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations:  the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.


The J. Paul Getty Museum collects Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts to 1900, as well as photographs from around the world to the present day. The Museum’s mission is to display and interpret its collections, and present important loan exhibitions and publications for the enjoyment and education of visitors locally and internationally. This is supported by an active program of research, conservation, and public programs that seek to deepen our knowledge of and connection to works of art.


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