The St. Petersburg International Center for Preservation—whose mission is to advance conservation through professional programs in education, information, science, and heritage advocacy—reached several milestones over the past 18 months, strengthening its role as Russia's only independent, nonprofit organization devoted exclusively to art and cultural heritage preservation.

With support from the Getty Conservation Institute, the Center was able to recruit professional staff during 2001. Lyudmila Pechourina, formerly program manager for the British Council in St. Petersburg, was hired as the Center's first full-time Russian director. Sergey Sereychick, previously with the St. Petersburg Public Library, is the new deputy director.

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On February 1, 2002, the Center opened its Nicolaas Witsen Information Facility. The state-of-the-art facility includes a specialized library in conservation, a computer laboratory that accesses online databases, desktop publishing capability, and Russia's first outlet of the Art Loss Register (the London-based international database of stolen and missing works of art). Funding for this new facility—which occupies a substantial wing of the Center's headquarters in the historic Trubetskoy-Naryshkin Mansion—was provided by the government of the Netherlands (see Conservation, vol. 13, no. 1). The facility is used daily by conservators, curators, archivists, librarians, and other professionals seeking access to information about cultural heritage preservation issues and technology.

The Center library's core collection includes basic reference materials, as well as donated books from the J. Paul Getty Trust and other partners. A major donation of conservation works came from the library of the late Stephen Rees-Jones Sr., a distinguished scientist and professor of conservation at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. The donation was made to the Center by Stephen Rees-Jones Jr. in his father's memory.

In September 2001, the Center began a new collaboration with the U.S. Department of State to enhance professional exchanges between Russian and U.S. experts in conservation. The project includes joint partnerships in specialized areas of conservation practice, and it promotes Western expertise that is directly adaptable to the preservation needs and challenges in Russia.

For additional information on these and other developments, visit the Center's Web site.