In a series of earthquakes, on Sunday, March 22, 2020, besides the Zagreb Cathedral and many residential historic buildings in the city’s center, a number of cultural institutions suffered severe damage as well.
The great damage was recorded at the Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts, Archaeological Museum, Croatian Natural History Museum, Ethnographic Museum, Mimara Museum, Art Pavilion, Croatian History Museum and the Modern Gallery.
The Museum of Arts and Crafts has dealt severe damage to the building itself as well as to the material stored in this largest and oldest museum of fine and applied arts in Croatia. The greatest damage was recorded at the 2nd and 3rd floor of the Museum, restoration workshops specializing in metal, ceramics and glass, textiles, painting and polychrome sculpture, part of the roof was destroyed and items in the permanent display on the second and third floors were damaged.
Numerous cracks appeared on the exterior as well as the interior of the building of the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb. The permanent exhibition and objects are badly damaged. The Vranyczany-Hafner palace in which the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb is located, was inspected by a team for building statics who marked it as “Temporarily Unusable TU1 – requires detailed inspection”.
The building of the Croatian Natural History Museum was also marked as temporarily unusable. Vertical cracks are visible on the exterior walls of the Museum atrium, and heavy damage to the first and second floors of the building will need to be bolstered by struts. The permanent display is badly damaged, glass was broken on numerous display cases and a number of invertebrate glass cylinders were irreversibly destroyed. A detailed inspection of over one million museum objects will take months. Only the most urgent evacuation will require around 600 square meters of space outside the Amadeo Palace.
The building of the Ethnographic Museum also got some severe damages during the earthquake. There are many cracks on the walls, especially close to the joints with the ceiling an the main staircase is broken as well. Luckily, the museum’s roof and facade were recently restored, so there are no significant damages on them. However, many glass cases are broken while objects made of glass or ceramics are mostly shattered to pieces. The Mimara Museum suffered breakages on the ceilings and walls, and sadly a part of its art collection is also severely damaged.
The second phase of inspection, the detailed inspection, of all museum’s buildings should take place in the following two weeks but the first step is to take care of all of the priceless works of art.