International Archives Day: Towards a Preservation of Endangered Archives

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International Archives Day: Towards a Preservation of Endangered Archives

Organized by the Modern Heritage Observatory (MoHO)
26 May, 2016 to 20 June, 2016
Library, Level -1
  • A selection of documents from The Fouad Debbas Collection

On the occasion of International Archives Day, and for the fourth time in Lebanon, members of the Modern Heritage Observatory (MoHO) network are collaborating on a collective exhibition showcasing rare items from their respective collections.

Hosted at the Sursock Museum, this exhibition aims to introduce the public to various endangered heritage collections, giving insights into the value and impact of preserving the region’s modern heritage as a means of safeguarding cultural memory.

The diverse archival documents and collections held by the MoHO network members – some of which are presented here – are rich and unique resources, which are accessible to researchers, scholars, cultural practitioners, artists, students, and the public at large.

A selection of documents from The Fouad Debbas Collection, currently housed at the Sursock Museum, will also be on display.

Initiated in 2007 by the ICA International Council on Archives, International Archives Day is celebrated on June 9 worldwide. It seeks to raise awareness regarding the value of archival preservation and the work of archivists.


Participating institutions
American University of Beirut, University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Department

Arab Center for Architecture
Arab Image Foundation
Beit Beirut
Foundation for Arab Music Archiving & Research (AMAR)
L’Orient-Le Jour
Recto Verso Library
The Fouad Debbas Collection / Sursock Museum
UMAM Documentation & Research


About The Fouad Debbas Collection
The Fouad Debbas Collection is a photographic collection comprising over 30,000 images from the Middle East – namely Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Turkey – from 1830 till the 1960s. It was built over the course of two decades by Fouad César Debbas (1930-2001), who was an ardent believer in the importance of collecting and preserving images as a means of safeguarding cultural heritage.

Housed in the Sursock Museum, the Collection consists of photographs, postcards, and stereoscopic views, in addition to loose albumen prints, etchings, and books, all of which relate to the region. The Collection, Orientalist in character and replete with commercial clichés, forms an important part of the Sursock Museum’s collection, highlighting photography’s key role in the development of modern art in Lebanon.

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