2022 HEART Announcement

The SCRI and HENTF team are excited to announce that HEART 2022 will be held in-person in Washington DC from December 5-9, 2022. The call for applications is now open. Deadline to apply is Wednesday, October 5 at 11:59 PM. For more information on the program, how to apply, and other information, please see below:

If you have any questions, please email hentf@si.edu.

2021 Virtual HEART Week

A huge thanks to all who attended Virtual HEART week! All recordings of the week’s sessions are now available via the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative’s YouTube Channel.

To honor HEART’s mission to increase heritage and emergency management professionals’ understanding of disaster preparedness and response for cultural heritage, a week-long program of educational events was held for all to join. Taking place over the week when HEART is traditionally hosted, the week featured four experts delivering virtual lectures on topics such as climate change, social media use in disasters, and volunteerism in disasters. The week kicked off with an informational session about the history of HEART and its creation by the Heritage Emergency National Task Force and featured three graduates of the program highlighting how the training has helped them at work.

All events took place from December 6-10, 2021. Check out the schedule for the whole program here: 2021 Virtual HEART Week Schedule.

If you are interested in learning how you can adapt your emergency planning during the COVID-19 pandemic, please check out our HENTF COVID-19 Resource Hub.

Have you participated in a HEART in the past and want to keep in touch with other participants? Please consider joining the HEART Graduate Group on Facebook. News, updates, and other HEART-related material are posted regularly.

HEART Program History and Goals

In 2015 the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI) became the co-sponsor, with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’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.

With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, HENTF has created a training opportunity for U.S. professionals to gain skills and experience in disaster response for cultural heritage. Heritage Emergency and Response Training, known as HEART, combines the best practices of internationally recognized training models with contextspecific information for a U.S. audience. This approach bolsters the U.S. disaster response network and connects participants to the global “First Aider” network of people trained to document and protect cultural heritage in times of crisis.

Group photo

Graduates of the first HEART program pose with teachers and SCRI staff in front of the Smithsonian Castle. (Michael Barnes, Smithsonian)

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.

The Training
The course consists of three parts. Accepted applicants will be required, before the start of the program, to complete FEMA’s online course “Introduction to the Incident Command System (ICS 100).” Participants then travel to Washington, DC, for a week of hands-on training at the Smithsonian Institution. Sessions provide realistic training in damage assessment, rapid documentation, emergency evacuation and salvage, rehousing and storage, crisis communication, team building, and more. At the conclusion of the training, participants are invited to attend a HEART webinar series that builds upon the in-person training, and reinforces concepts covered in previous trainings.

Expected Outcomes
At the end of the training, participants will be able to:


Contact the Heritage Emergency National Task Force at hentf@si.edu, or contact the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative at culturalrescue@si.edu.