six people in discussion on stage

Upcoming Events

In an effort to increase our training, response, and research capabilities, we host or assist in programming multiple conferences around the globe, convening experts to study and actively support the protection of cultural heritage in crisis.

Past Events

U. S. Department of State Foreign Press Center Briefing on the Smithsonian’s Cultural Heritage Rescue Work in Ukraine


A recording is available at, Briefing on the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative's Work in Ukraine.

The briefing discusses the work of the partnership between the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative and the Cultural Heritage Monitoring Lab at the Virginia Museum of Natural History to protect cultural heritage in Ukraine by monitoring over 26,000 cultural heritage sites. The project uses a combination of remote sensing, open-source research, and satellite imagery tasking to gather evidence of cultural heritage damage.

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.

After careful consideration of the continued health risks posed by COVID-19, the Heritage Emergency and Response Training (HEART) coordination team decided not to host an in-person HEART program this year. In its place, we hosted a week of informative programming dedicated to increasing understanding of emergencies and disasters that affect cultural institutions and historic sites.

Kicking off the week was an informational session about the history of HEART and its creation by the Heritage Emergency National Task Force. Three graduates highlighted how HEART has helped them in their work. The rest of the week, daily keynotes featured experts in the fields of emergency management, heritage protection, and current disaster research.

Monday, December 6

  • Stories from the HEART: Heritage Emergency and Response Training in Action

Tuesday, December 7

  • Using Volunteers in Times of Disaster: Dr. Samantha Montano, Assistant Professor of Emergency Management, Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Wednesday, December 8

  • The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico to the rescue of the artistic and cultural heritage of Puerto Rico: Marta Mabel Pérez, Executive Director, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico

Thursday, December 9

  • Cultural Heritage & Climate Change: Disaster Planning, Adaptation, and Resilience: Sarah Sutton: CEO, Environment and Culture Partners

Friday, December 10

  • Social media and disasters affecting cultural heritage: Dr. Pakhee Kumar, Lecturer in Sustainable Heritage and Data Analysis, University College London

Reinventing the Monuments Men and Women for the 21st-Century Force


Reinventing the Monuments Men and Women for the 12st-Century Force is available to view on SCRI's YouTube channel.

On Wednesday, September 16, 2020, an event was held celebrating the inaugural training of the next generation of Monuments Men and Women. A preeminent panel of military and museum experts led a program about the new Monuments Men and Women for the 21st-Century Force that was inspired by the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives teams of WWII. The program included a special presentation of the newly acquired “George Stout Diaries” by the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.

Speakers Include

  • Richard Kurin, Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large, Smithsonian Institution
  • Brigadier General Jeffrey C. Coggin, Commander, U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne)
  • Colonel Andrew Scott DeJesse, 38G Program Director, Strategic Initiatives Group, U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne)
  • Corine Wegener, Director, Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative
  • Brian I. Daniels, Director of Research and Programs, Penn Cultural Heritage Center, University of Pennsylvania Museum

  • Larry Di Rita, Greater Washington DC Market President, Bank of America

  • A short presentation by Liza Kirwin, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

Current Approaches to the Conservation of Conflict-Affected Heritage

The Ring Auditorium, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Presentations from Current Approaches to the Conservation of Conflict-Affected Heritage are now available on SCRI's YouTube channel

Armed conflicts result in damage, destruction, and theft of cultural heritage. This tragic loss raises new and challenging questions to the fields of heritage preservation and conservation. How do we respond to ongoing threats? What support is appropriate for colleagues in conflict-affected areas? What forms of salvage, stabilization, conservation interventions, and commemoration are needed? Are there new or speculative scientific methods that can assist in conservation or tracking the theft of objects? Scholars and practitioners alike are working through these concerns in real time as they are faced with global crises and increased public attention about the post-conflict futures of heritage sites, museum collections, and cultural traditions.

The Smithsonian Institution hosted the symposium, “Current Approaches to the Conservation of Conflict-Affected Heritage” on February 28, 2020. Panelists, who have addressed conflict-affected heritage through collaborative interventions, developing on-the-ground responses, or conducting much needed basic scientific studies, presented ongoing cases from Ukraine, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq, as well as cutting-edge conservation approaches that show great promise in assisting the global effort to restore what has been damaged and recover what has been lost.

This symposium was organized by the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative, the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute, and the International Council of Museums Disaster Resilient Museums Committee (DRMC), and supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Session 1: International Heritage Needs and Responses During and After Conflict

  • Addressing the Conflict-Affected Heritage in Ukraine: Challenges and Responses 
    Ihor Poshyvailo, National Memorial and the Revolution of Dignity Museum
  • The Responsive Preservation Initiative: Meeting Urgent Cultural Heritage Needs through the American Overseas Research Centers
    Glenn Corbett, Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC)
  • Preservation Efforts in Northwest Syria
    Salam Al Kuntar, Rutgers University/Syrians for Heritage (SIMAT)
  • National Museum of Afghanistan (Current Initiatives for Preservation of Movable Heritages in Afghanistan) 
    Fahim Rahimi, National Museum of Afghanistan

Session 2: International Exchange, Conservation Training, and Salvage in Iraq and Beyond

  • Reconstructing Iraq’s Heritage Sector: Reflections on a Decade of Partnerships and Programs
    Brian Michael Lione, Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute
  • Capacity Building After Conflict: Case Studies from The Iraqi Institute
    Jessica S. Johnson, Head of Conservation, Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute

  • Nimrud Rescue
    Kent Severson, Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

Session 3: New Methodological Approaches to Heritage Conservation After Conflict

  • Heritage in the Crossfire
    Lisa Mol, University of the West of England, Bristol
  • Macro to Nano: A Multiscale Approach to Characterising Ballistic Damage to Stone
    Oliver Campbell, Cardiff University
  • Cuneiform Tablets After Crisis
    Katharyn Hanson, Smithsonian Institution

Uniting to Save World Cultures Conference: Investigating the Attributes of Successful Emergency Cultural Heritage Interventions

Warner Brothers Theater, National Museum of American History

Presentations and Panel Discussions are available on SCRI's YouTube channel.

The two-and-a-half day conference highlighted illustrative case studies that can assist in identifying the key attributes associated with the successful protection of cultural heritage during complex emergencies. The aim of the event was to foster a new body of disaster management data formed by evidence-based analysis and detailed case studies. Twelve presentations were delivered on the following four themes:

  • Panel 1: Risk reduction
  • Panel 2: Building the capacity for resilience
  • Panel 3: Local leadership during crises
  • Panel 4: Negotiations and collaborations during and after a crisis.