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Smithsonian CULTURAL RESCUE INITIATIVE

Following the Haiti Cultural Recovery Project in 2010, where heritage professionals from around the world worked with our Haitian colleagues after the earthquake, the Smithsonian continued to enthusiastically advocate and develop further capacity to coordinate and participate in emergency preparedness and disaster recovery of cultural heritage worldwide. In November 2012, Corine Wegener was named Cultural Heritage Preservation Officer at the Smithsonian and she began to assemble a team of experts that is integral to the process of responding to cultural crises sparked by armed conflict or natural disaster.

Drawing from our talented Smithsonian experts from archeologists to conservation scientists to collections managers, we are aiming to create a place exclusively designed to protect cultural heritage and respond in times of disasters. Working together with our collaborating partners, we can provide advice and assistance on the ground that is needed in times of crisis. We want to create and share new research dedicated to uncovering the root causes of damage to cultural heritage in disasters. And we want to provide a place of leadership and learning, a place where people can come to learn techniques for saving their own cultural heritage when it is at risk.


Response

When disaster strikes and cultural heritage is endangered, our team at the Smithsonian is committed to providing advice, support, and timely, on-the-ground assistance to our colleagues in need.

Training

The Smithsonian is addressing the loss of cultural heritage by helping our museum and military colleagues on the ground with training, equipment, and additional assistance and advice so they can expand their capacity to protect or recover their own cultural heritage.

Research Projects

Our response and training support capabilities are deeply grounded in thoughtful scholarly research. We engage scholars and practitioners in a variety of fields to increase our knowledge and ability to protect cultural heritage in crisis as well as increase the resource bank for fellow cultural heritage professionals around the world. All of our findings are open access and available to you.