National Museum, Damascus
 
Colored glass, a dazzling array of stones, bones, shells, ivory or clay—the raw material for mosaics is near infinite. Cut into small pieces and fused into singular, complex works of art, mosaics tell stories of every conceivable nature, covering human life from lofty mythological scenes to the mundane experience of an unswept floor. First used in Mesopotamia to decorate sacred temples, mosaics became the defining medium of ancient Roman and Byzantine art, leaving a rich and unparalleled legacy throughout the Mediterranean region.

MOSAIKON is a joint initiative by the Foundation, the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), the International Center for the Study and the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), and the International Committee for the Conservation of Mosaics (ICCM). It aims to develop innovative models for mosaics preservation around the Mediterranean, seeking to safeguard the region’s unique cultural heritage by inspiring comprehensive new approaches to conservation and site management. Specific goals include improving the skills of the technicians, conservators, and decision-makers responsible for the care of mosaics, strengthening professional networks in the region, and developing locally-sustainable treatment materials and methodologies, both for in situ and museum preservation.

National Museum, Damascus
 
"The Mediterranean region boasts the most significant collections of mosaics in the world. Yet, by far the greatest challenge these collections face today is a dearth of technical skill, vision, and overall strategy on how to preserve them. Leaders lack clear role models for capacity-building in the region, preventing them from envisioning and reaching sustainable, long-term goals and standards. MOSAIKON is part of a far-reaching movement in the field–a revolution, really–in how we go about protecting these important artifacts for future generations to enjoy." —Aicha be-Abed, Mosaikon Coordinator, Tunis


National Museum, Damascus, Lifted Mosaic
 
Following the long-standing involvement of the Getty Conservation Institute in the region, MOSAIKON partners have devised a four-pronged approach to meeting existing challenges of mosaics preservation: deliver hands-on training for local conservation technicians; develop new and affordable materials for mosaics conservation; collaborate with policy-makers on strategy and long-term funding; and strengthen academic training opportunities for the next generation of specialists to carry this knowledge into the future. For further background on this initiative, please also visit the Getty Conservation Institute