“Cultural Treasure” grants program starts with Choijin lama temple museum preservation project
On the occasion of its 25th anniversary, MCS Group has initiated “Cultural Treasure” – cultural heritage grants program to protect historic monuments and cultural heritage that represent Mongolian traditional culture & national values. Co-organized with the Arts Council of Mongolia (ACM), the grants program will provide funding of a total of 2 billion MNT to several national level heritage site preservation projects through 5 years period.
As the first recipient of “Cultural Treasure” grant, “Choijin Lama Temple Museum preventive conservation project” will be implemented in 2019 with multiple stakeholders of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sciences and Sports, the City Mayor’s Office, Capital city planning department & the Arts Council of Mongolia NGO, to encourage the strategic collaboration between Government organizations, businesses and civil society in the protection of built heritage within urban environment.
Choijin Lama Temple is an architectural masterpiece built by Ombogo, the court architect between 1904 and 1908 in the center of Niislel Khuree in dedication to Lama Luvsankhaidav, brother of the Buddhist spiritual leader, the 8th Bogd Khaan Javzandamba. The temple performed religious activities until 1938. Later Choijin lama temple was converted into a museum & popular tourist attraction for both visitors and Mongolians alike.
But today, Choijin Lama Temple Museum is undergoing severe degradation due to various types of large-scale development activities near Choijin lama temple, including infrastructure development, new buildings, urban renewal and changes to the land use (some of which are insensitive or inappropriate), harsh climate of Mongolia and lack of funding for conservation restoration of heritage site, resulting a critical condition that demands urgent restoration and protection.
Lack of state fund for the conservation of heritage sites reminds that the role of Public-Private Partnerships has a significant impact in Conserving and managing Heritage Buildings and Sites.
The Arts Council of Mongolia (ACM), a non-government organization, identified the Choijin Lama Temple Museum complex as a project worthy of their interest. The ACM project on conservation of the Choijin Lama Temple Museum attracted the interest of Mr. Roger Perry, Australian citizen-patron of Mongolian arts.
With the financial support of Roger Perry, ACM & Choijin lama temple museum previously implemented 4 preventive conservation projects in 2008, 2009 and 2017. The projects were “Architectural measurement and building damage assessment of Choijin lama temple museum” in 2008, “Choijin lama temple museum gardening project” in 2008, “Museum box” heritage education project in 2009 and “Study of the impact of natural & social factors” in 2017, where the last aimed to define risks and dangers threatening the Choijin Lama Temple museum complex .
In 2017, Team of experts from different scientific fields assessed impacts of soil formation, invasive biological species, air pollution, climate change and severe weather events, buildings & development, transportation infrastructure, tourism, recreational activities, illegal occupation of space, illegal construction, management system, legal framework and evaluated risk preparedness & society’s valuing of heritage. As a result of experts’ recommendation, an immediate follow-up action was to develop land use planning & landscaping of Choijin lama temple museum protected area.
In their efforts to embrace corporate social responsibility (CSR), MCS group has been identifying the interests, concerns and objectives of local arts & cultural institutions, museums and taking initiative to address their varying needs.
MCS group took a leading role and committed to provide financial support for the preservation Choijin lama temple museum & Bogd Khan Palace Museum through Cultural Treasure grant.
Within the scope of Choijin lama temple land use planning & landscaping project, the gardens and landscapes, pathways, external lights of Choijin lama temple museum will be renovated and land use planning will be developed to ensure heritage site proper protection and preservation.
As the most heritage sites are administered by the government, the government agencies play an important role in providing consultancy to heritage conservators in heritage management. Therefore, project is implemented with the partnership & support of the Ministry of ECSS, Capital city planning department & National center for the cultural heritage.
As a result of this collaborative approach in heritage preservation management, a precious and unique historical and cultural memorial of Mongolia will become an attractive “oasis” in the middle of the city, providing its citizens with a place of rest and relaxation. The Museum complex will attract more visitors through outdoor corporate and cultural events - key generators of a creative economy.
Mr.Od. J, President of the MCS Group noted that “ recent years MCS Group has successfully accomplished a great number of projects targeted to protect, preserve, and promote Mongolian arts & cultural heritage for the public. These include the Digitalization of the 50 national opera and ballet musical score manuscripts - a documentary heritage of Mongolian great composers; and the “Mongol Film HD” that digitized 182 feature and 873 documentary film reels and converted to HD formats. Through the “Secret of Zanabazar” project, the ACM & MCS group produced a film to promote the legacy of Buddhist art & masterpieces of Öndör Gegeen Zanabazar, providing a new product to the Zanabazar fine arts museum new product. In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the MCS Group, we are committed to is continue our support to preservation of the Mongolian cultural heritage by initiating “Cultural Treasure” grants program.
MCS group “Cultural Treasure” grant will also fund the study of the impact of natural & social factors affecting physical fabric of Bogd Khaan Palace museum buildings and development of restoration work drawing for Choijin lama temple museum complex in 2019. These preventive conservation projects will play an important role in protecting the historical buildings and artifacts from the threats of natural & social factors.
Mend-Ooyo.G, Cultural Meritorious Fellow, Chinggis Khaan Ordain awardee and ACM board member, emphasized “The Cultural Treasuregrant program as a valuable contribution for protecting, preserving, promoting and transmitting our unique cultural heritage, which is the essence of the Mongolian people’s wisdom”.
MCS group “Cultural Treasure” grant is a role model of how the sponsorship from private companies provides necessary support to cultural heritage preservation and in the promotion of the historical, architectural, religious and aesthetic significance of heritage sites.
About ACM cultural heritage program
With a goal to protect, promote, disseminate Mongolian cultural heritage Arts Council of Mongolia opened its Cultural Heritage Program in 2006.
Since then a number of projects were carried out, namely the Danzanravjaa museum hall renovation, Documentation of Mongolian monasteries, the Amarbayasgalant Monastery Preventive Conservation project, and the Museum Preservation Training and Acid-Free Supply project.
The highlight of this program is the Amarbayasgalant Monastery Preventive Conservation, which aims to safeguard the cultural and historical treasures of Mongolia from potential fire and theft through support from the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for the Cultural Heritage Preservation (AFCP). As a result of Rewiring the entire complex for electricity and installing fire alarm and video monitoring systems have reduced the risk of fire and theft at this heritage site.
Since 2007, ACM implemented nationwide project “Documentation of Mongolian Monasteries” in collaboration with Gandantegchinlen Monastery, the President's office, the Cultural Heritage Center, and international researchers. The project brought the rich Buddhist heritage of Mongolia to life and uploaded much of its data to the website (www.mongoliantemples.org). The website includes data of over one thousand pre-1939 heritage sites and around three hundred temples that have been active since 1990. Their photographs and GPS coordinates were recorded and made open to the public. Over 350 oral histories and nearly 500 site photographs from Mongolian, Russian, and European sources can be found on the site. It also documents and promotes Mongolian cultural heritage while encouraging young Mongolians to embrace their heritage.