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Smithsonian CULTURAL RESCUE INITIATIVE

We believe that offering research-based, practical training to our on-the-ground partners and to military personnel will ensure a rapid, synchronized, and efficient response during the critical hours of a disaster assessment and recovery, further enabling the preservation of cultural heritage and significantly contributing to the humanitarian response.


With generous funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF) created a new, week-long training opportunity for U.S. 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. Click the link above to learn more.

In summer 2016, the Smithsonian Institution and International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) conducted the "First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis" course in Washington, D.C. for an international audience. The curriculum used case examples of safeguarding cultural heritage in the aftermath of local, national, and international disasters. Click the link above to learn more and watch our video about the course below (thanks to the Smithsonian's Office of International Relations for producing it!).

In spring 2015, the Smithsonian partnered with the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) to conduct the “First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis” (FAC) for an international audience in regions where cultural heritage was, or still is, at risk. Read more and download materials here.

In nations around the world, the military plays a crucial role in protecting cultural heritage and stopping the illicit traffic of stolen objects. Read more about the Smithsonian’s role in coordination with the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield in national and international military training here.

The Smithsonian is founder and driver of the National Conference on Cultural Property Protection. Since 1977, the Conference has united new and seasoned professionals from large and small cultural organizations across the United States and abroad for training, sharing best practices, and networking. Heritage preservation is our core strength with exemplary skills in security, facilities construction and management, and collections stewardship. Our programming has evolved as the industry has expanded, embracing collaboration and an interdisciplinary focus on cultural heritage protection and preservation.