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Representatives of national and international institutions visit Restoration Workshop of Religious Garments and Ornaments at Saint Francis Convent Complex in Quito
© UNESCO. Inauguration of the event in charge of Ms Alcira Sandoval Ruiz and Father Carlos Amendaño, together with Ms Dora Arizaga, Julio Benítez and Pablo Rodríguez.
13 February 2015/ UNESCO Office in Quito

On 10 February 2015, the UNESCO Office in Quito and Cluster Office to Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, in the framework of the Integrated Management Plan of the St. Francis Convent in Quito, participated in a guided tour of the Restoration Workshop of Religious Garments and Ornaments, together with representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited to Ecuador, ministries and national and local institutions, as well as the national media and also made the formal presentation of the audio-guide service of the Friar Pedro Gocial Museum.

Father Carlos Amendaño welcomed the participants and stated that the activity sought to familiarize visitors to the Convent Complex with the work being done to conserve cultural heritage and with the rich heritage legacy of the Franciscan Order and the City of Quito.

In turn, Ms Alcira Sandoval Ruiz, on behalf of the UNESCO Office in Quito, stressed the progress made in the implementation of this Plan, aimed at providing an integrated conservation strategy for the Convent to ensure a balance between heritage conservation and cultural, religious and tourism usage, based on sustainability. These objectives are being fulfilled thanks to the support of the Metropolitan Heritage Institute in the work of restoring the church, counteracting the humidity in some areas of the Convent and restoring murals and easel paintings. She also highlighted the importance of the support given by the Equinoctial Technological University (UTE) in the conservation of movable assets, such as the establishment of a workshop to restore religious garments and ornaments. Lastly, she underlined the support of the Quito Tourism public enterprise regarding the sustainable tourism component, with the elaboration and donation of audio guides for the Friar Pedro Gocial Museum.

The visit to the workshop was in charge of Catalina Hernández, a Colombian expert and teacher of Textile Restoration in the specialty of Restoration and Museology at UTE. She explained the characteristics of different religious garments and ornaments, such as chasubles, stoles, quadrants, bags for the corporal, dalmatic and purificator with a description of their embroidery techniques. Most of the garments were made in Europe and date back to the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Conservation techniques are used to stabilize these items where the threads are loose or where the embroidery has deteriorated. By the end of this first stage, close to 54 items are being restored out of a collection of nearly 320 ornaments. In this respect, UNESCO Consultant on Movable Assets, Israel Zambrano, announced that there would be an exhibit of the objects restored beginning on 19 March 2015, as part of the temporary exhibitions programmed at the Friar Pedro Gocial Museum.

In relation to the sustainable tourism projects, the visitors inaugurated the audio-guide system in English and Spanish made by Quito Tourism, as part of the contribution made by this enterprise to the Integrated Management Plan. Mr Pablo Rodríguez, in charge of the Museum, explained that the use of the equipment costs US$ 4, which includes the Museum’s entrance fee and a sum to be deposited in the trust for the sustainability of the Management Plan.

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