A Haitian conservation trainee in a black and blue treats a historical mural at Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral after the 2010 earthquake
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We aim to help ensure that through intervention and action, cultural heritage is spared from destruction and continues to be accessible to the communities it represents.

The priority in the wake of any disaster is the preservation of human life. Once the humanitarian response has taken place, assuring the health and safety of the community, cultural heritage can serve as an important resource for resilience. As something that is both reflective of and integral to living, the preservation of cultural heritage should also receive proactive assistance. By swiftly mobilizing and deploying a network of trained staff, collaborators, contractors and volunteers in time to make a difference, the Smithsonian can follow military and humanitarian organizations on the ground to join local experts in assessing damage and prioritizing critical needs. With Smithsonian expertise in the science of material conservation, we can suggest salvage and stabilization techniques in ways that respect the integrity of the items and their creators.

Meeting the short-term goals of a cultural heritage disaster response can also create opportunities to address long-term needs. By providing on-the-ground training to local experts and volunteers, and working collaboratively with them to create a framework necessary to execute a large-scale emergency preparedness effort, together we can build the capacity of communities to weather current disasters and meet future ones.

Image: A Haitian conservation trainee treats a historical mural at Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral after the 2010 earthquake. Stephanie Hornbeck 

International Response

SCRI projects include cultural rescue work in Haiti, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Mali, Nepal, and the U.S.

Domestic Response

SCRI responds to disasters at home and coordinates closely with Federal partners FEMA, the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, and the Department of the Interior.