Technology saves rare artefacts in the Himalayas: Bhutan

Picture 1Here is an Indiegogo campaign page for a project created by preservation fine art specialist Anne Shaftel. The project aims to help protect Bhutanese artifacts, threatened by looting and environmental risks.

The campaign:

It is time for action! We need your help in protecting rare artefacts in Bhutan – with digital technology!

Antique hunters destroy precious Bhutanese heritage for money. In a time of a dramatic and alarming rise in the theft of art treasures from Himalayan Monasteries, the smartphone is a vital documentation tool to prove ownership. Art theft worldwide is a major criminal enterprise.


Fire, flood, earthquake and political upheaval destroy traditional treasures. Our vision is the documentation of cultural heritage treasures worldwide, through the training and empowerment of local treasure caretakers using low-cost, universally available technology (mobiles and tablets) and their existing skills (texting, email, video, and photography). Very few have access to highly complicated cataloging technology used by museums that require expensive computers.


Your donation:

• Trains cultural caretakers in digital documentation and preservation of monastery and town treasures

• Trains caretakers to create confidential digital inventories that include video/audio files

• Trains caretakers how to conduct interviews with elders, how to video the interviews, and how to integrate the oral histories with the digital inventory records

• Provides for follow-up visits to the participants’ monastery to work one-on-one on digital documentation and to advise on specific preservation concerns regarding cultural heritage

• Supports continuing training, via email, social media and phone

• Creates technical updates as mobile and Cloud technology advances

• Provides access to a worldwide network of preservation professionals


Awards and Previous Session of the Workshop

The project has been nominated for the prestigious international Manthan award for innovative use of digital technology for cultural heritage preservation, and the ENorth award, for the successful implementation of our session held at Namgyal Institute in Gangtok (India) in the spring of 2014. We are finalists and will let you know if we win.

The Impact of the Project

The previous session of the project had a huge impact in art conservation in the Himalayas. This session will impact even more participants, institutions and countries.


Why we need your help

In order to implement this session in Bhutan, we need to raise a total of $40,000, and foundation and corporate funding is in process.

Your contribution to Indiegogo will cover the costs involved in educating the Bhutan Treasure Caretaker community: monks, nuns, and lay cultural caretakers from local villages who will travel to the conference site.

We offer attractive traditional gifts from Bhutan that will make your contribution memorable and more than worthwhile! Have a look at the perks!

Other Ways You Can Help

Even if you can’t give a donation, you are very important to us.

Spread the word on social media, and help us connect to more people. Join the spirit of the campaign and help the Treasure Caretakers to keep their cultures alive and well documented – through this innovative use of technology.

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