In 2015 the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI) became the co-sponsor, with FEMA’s Office of Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation (OEHP), of the Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF), a public- private partnership created to protect our nation’s cultural heritage. Both SCRI and OEHP are committed to expanding training for cultural stewards, first responders, and emergency managers to better prepare them to work together to address emergencies and disasters that affect cultural institutions and historic sites.

Heritage Emergency and Response Training (HEART)

Organized by: Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI) and FEMA’s Office of Environmental Planning & Historic Preservation (OEHP), co-sponsors of the Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF)

With funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, HENTF has created this training opportunity for U.S.–based professionals to gain skills and experience in disaster response for cultural heritage. HEART combines the important principles of the internationally recognized FAC training model with context-specific information for a U.S. audience. The goals are to improve U.S. disaster response at the institutional level, strengthen existing networks, and connect participants to the wider international “First Aider” network of people trained to document and protect cultural heritage in times of crisis. Participants will learn to be proactive yet sensitive to human needs, respectful of local context, and, after completing their training, ready to support measures to protect cultural heritage in their own communities.

After launching in 2017, HEART has trained 75+ participants representing a wide variety of specialties and fields. HEART graduates hail from cultural heritage institutions who wish to improve their collections management plans and first responder groups who want a better understanding of how cultural heritage helps communities recover following a disaster. Though the main HEART program is based in D.C., it has travelled to disaster-affected regions such as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to help cultural stewards prepare for upcoming hurricane seasons.

Contact the Heritage Emergency National Task Force at, or contact the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative at

Looking for other training content? Check out our Resources page for manuals, guides, and content that we use in our programs.

Webinar Series

Launched in 2018, the Heritage Emergency And Response Training (HEART) webinars provide important follow-up information and should complement the material participants acquired in person as part of the HEART program. See below the recordings of the webinars which are available to all interested heritage emergency professionals. New recordings will be added to the library here and on our YouTube channel.

These programs are made possible by the generous support of:

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this training do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.