The Smithsonian has extensive experience supporting scientific and cultural professionals in local communities affected by disasters worldwide, and the training function of the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative compiles, synthesizes, and shares this experience with the rest of the field. We currently collaborate with other cultural heritage emergency organizations in order to provide technical training workshops and interdisciplinary educational programs to both domestic and international heritage professionals.
We believe that offering this type of 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 is our mission.
First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis (FAC)
In partnership with ICCROM, the Prince Claus Fund, and others, the aim of the intense FAC training program is to build the skills of heritage caretakers, within any type of crisis-affected community, so that they may participate in their own cultural recovery.
Heritage Emergency and Response Training (HEART)
Conducted as part of the Smithsonian’s role as Heritage Emergency National Task Force co-sponsor, this program is designed for U.S.–based cultural and emergency professionals who want to improve their skills in responding to domestic disasters.
The military has obligations under the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Together with the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield and other partners, the Smithsonian provides training and coordination for implementation of this important treaty.
With a coalition of partners, including the University of Pennsylvania, the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, and the Military Cultural Heritage Action Group (MilCHAG), SCRI creates and distributes military training guides to encourage protection of cultural and religious heritage sites.