To the Members of the Medieval Academy of America:
If, like me, you were stunned by the images of Notre-Dame in flames and were shocked a second time to hear that fire also broke out yesterday at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, there is better-than-expected news to share today.
The fire at Al-Aqsa was quickly extinguished and resulted in no injuries and no significant damage to the interior or exterior of the complex.
The medieval vaults at Notre-Dame did what they were meant to do: with the exception of a section at the crossing, the vaulting held firm as the wooden beams above it collapsed, protecting the interior of the Cathedral. The great rose windows survived. Even so, the damage and loss is significant, and one firefighter was injured.
Many members have asked me how they can help with the restoration of the Cathedral. Here are some immediate initiatives:
1) The French Heritage Fund has set up a special fund for the restoration of Notre-Dame. 100% of all donations will go towards the Cathedral’s restoration – there will be no administrative fees charged, and your donation is tax deductible. Click here to donate.
2) If you have particular expertise regarding the Cathedral or Gothic art and architecture in general, please contact me explaining your expertise and detailing any special resources you may have (photographs, data, measurements, etc.) so I can add your name to a growing list of experts that will be forwarded to the relevant French authorities as they begin their work.
I know that for many of you, the destruction at Notre-Dame feels personal. We all know that the Cathedral is more than stone and mortar. For many of you, it is a life’s work of study. By pooling our collective expertise, I hope that the Medieval Academy can play a small part in bringing Notre-Dame back to life.
Lisa Fagin Davis
Medieval Academy of America