Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative Team

The Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative coordinates the Smithsonian’s external domestic and international disaster risk management and response activities.

Founded after the historic Haiti Cultural Recovery Project, the Smithsonian has a deep reservoir of experience with projects that protect cultural heritage in areas experiencing instability and enhance the capacity of local cultural institutions through training and consultation. It follows best practices in humanitarian aid by adding more support to enable local and national governments to undertake cultural rescue on their own through resilience and research activities.

Meet Our Team

Richard Kurin
Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large, Office of the Secretary

Richard Kurin

As a member of the Smithsonian’s senior leadership team, Richard Kurin helps guide the Institution’s national museums, pre-eminent research centers, and educational programs with a staff of 6,500 and annual budget of $1.5 billion. His areas of focus are the Smithsonian’s strategic direction, institutional partnerships, public representation, philanthropic support, and special initiatives. Prior to his current role, Kurin served as Acting Provost and Under Secretary for Museums and Research from 2015, and from 2007 served as Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture. For two decades before that, Kurin directed the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

Kurin was appointed by successive Secretaries of State to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and helped draft an international treaty to safeguard living cultural heritage now ratified by 170 nations. He led efforts to save heritage in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and has overseen projects for saving heritage endangered by natural disaster in Nepal and the U.S., and by human conflict in Mali, Egypt, Iraq, and Syria. Kurin served as liaison to the U.S. President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the White House Historical Association, and chairs a task group for the U.S. Department of State Cultural Heritage Coordinating Committee. He is a board member of the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas and serves on the Visiting Committee for the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. He has been honored by Harvard University’s Peabody Museum, the International Council of Museums, the American Anthropological Association, the American Folklore Society, and the Smithsonian, and is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

An anthropologist with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Kurin specialized in the study of South Asia. He has held Fulbright and Social Science Research Council fellowships, taught at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and authored six books, including the best-selling The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects.

SCRI Director, Cori Wegener

Corine Wegener is director of the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI), an outreach program dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage in crisis situations in the U.S. and abroad. SCRI’s work includes projects in Syria, Iraq, Haiti, Nepal, and around the world. SCRI also co-chairs, with FEMA’s Office of Environmental and Historic Preservation, the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, part of the U.S. National Disaster Recovery Framework. Before coming to the Smithsonian in 2012, Wegener was an associate curator in the department of Decorative Arts, Textiles, and Sculpture at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. During a concurrent career as a US Army Reserve officer, she served on several military deployments, including as an Arts, Monuments, and Archives Officer assigned to assist after the 2003 looting of the Iraq National Museum. Wegener has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Nebraska Omaha and MA degrees in Political Science and Art History from the University of Kansas.

Liz Kirby

Since 2017, Elizabeth Kirby has used her experience to help SCRI staff engage with organizations dedicated to the preservation and sustainability of cultural heritage through collaborations and program development. She joined the Smithsonian in 2012, as the Grants Development Specialist for the Smithsonian Consortia, a central research and program incubator that fostered interdisciplinary work across all the Smithsonian’s museums and research centers, addressing complex issues such as climate change, ocean health, and the protection of cultural heritage under threat from disaster. Prior to that, she spent 25 years in higher education advancing resources for scholars and practitioners. She served as a director of the Office of Sponsored Programs, an assistant director of Corporate and Foundation Relations and held a post in continuing education developing customized training programs for private and public sector organizations. She completed her master’s degree at American University in Linguistics and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in Asian Studies. She holds the Certified Research Administrator (CRA) credential.

Dr. Brian I Daniels

Brian I. Daniels is the director of research and programs for the Penn Cultural Heritage Center at the University of Pennsylvania Museum and a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution. Dr. Daniels co-directs the Safeguarding the Heritage of Syria and Iraq Project, which aims to enhance the protection of cultural heritage by supporting professionals and activists in conflict areas, and leads a National Science Foundation-supported study about the intentional destruction of cultural heritage in conflict. He has also worked with local communities on issues surrounding heritage rights and repatriation for over fifteen years. Previously, he served as the manager of the National Endowment for the Humanities regional center initiative at San Francisco State University, where he worked on strategies for community engagement and folklore documentation. Dr. Daniels received his doctoral degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr Katharyn Hanson

Katharyn Hanson, Ph.D., is the Head of Research at the Smithsonian's Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI) and a Smithsonian Secretary's Scholar. Dr. Hanson is an archaeologist specializing in the protection of cultural heritage. Previously she served as a Heritage Preservation Scholar at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute (MCI), Executive Director of The Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TARII), a visiting researcher at the Geospatial Technologies Team at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and held post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania Museum and MCI. She previously directed archaeological site preservation training at the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage in Erbil, Iraq. She received her doctorate from the University of Chicago with a dissertation entitled “Considerations of Cultural Heritage: Threats to Mesopotamian Archaeological Sites.” She currently serves on the Board of TARII and she has been involved in various archaeological fieldwork projects for over 25 years and has curated museum exhibits and published on damage to cultural heritage sites. Dr. Hanson's research combines archaeology, remote sensing, and cultural heritage protection methodology and policy with on-the-ground action to protect culture.

Stacy Bowe

Stacy Bowe develops and implements cultural heritage emergency preparedness workshops, trainings, and educational resources in collaboration with many of the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative’s partners. This includes assisting with the coordination of the international First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis (FAC) training and managing the U.S.–focused Heritage Emergency and Response Training (HEART) programs. She completed her master’s program in Managing Archaeological Sites at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, and afterwards participated in an internship with the UNESCO Culture Unit in Bangkok, Thailand, where she assisted with processing submissions to the 2014 Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. Previously, Stacy was the Department Assistant in the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research at the Smithsonian’s Freer | Sackler Gallery, where she oversaw the administrative management of the office as well as assisted conservators on several technical studies. Her bachelor’s degree in Archaeology was obtained from Dickinson College, Pennsylvania.

Katelynn Averyt

Katelynn Averyt is the disaster response coordinator at the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative where she manages SCRI’s research data related to cultural heritage under threat and coordinates emergency response field work and deployments for domestic and international cultural heritage disaster missions. Prior to her work at the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative, Katelynn was the development coordinator at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library and deputy director at the Helen Day Art Center in Vermont. She received her M.A. in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University and her B.A. in Classics from The Catholic University of America.

SCRI team member in black dress

Colleen Carroll is a project coordinator with the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative where amongst other project she works on the Army Monuments Officer Training. Prior to joining SCRI, Colleen worked for the Smithsonian Provenance Research Initiative as the U.S. Project Coordinator for the German/American Provenance Research Exchange Program. She received her MSc in Art History from the University of Edinburgh and her B.A. in English Literature and Art History from the University of St. Thomas.

Tina M. Jones
Contracting Officer, and Executive Assistant to the Director of Smithsonian’s Office of Contracting & Personal Property Management

Tina M Jones

Tina M. Jones is a Contracting Officer and has been the Executive Assistant to the Director of Smithsonian’s Office of Contracting & Personal Property Management since 2020. Tina has been with the Smithsonian for approximately 18 years and prior to this position she was the Associate Director for the Procurement Division from 2013 - 2020 where she provided acquisition oversight for all museums, the National Zoo, nine Research Centers around the world including a tropical research center in Panama, and the Wilson Center. Prior to her career with Smithsonian, she was a Senior Contract Specialist and Contracting Officer with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General for 20 years.

Nana Kaneko
Specialist, Heritage Emergency National Task Force

Dr Nana Kaneko

Dr. Nana Kaneko supports the coordination of the Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF). The HENTF, co-sponsored by SCRI and FEMA’s Office of Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation (OEHP), is a public-private partnership of 60 national service organizations and federal agencies working to protect cultural heritage in our nation’s states, tribes, territories, and local communities from the damaging effects of natural disasters and other emergencies. Prior to joining FEMA’s OEHP, Kaneko was the SCRI Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow and Program Manager for Cultural Disaster Analysis where she monitored, organized, coordinated, and evaluated program implementation, operations, and administration to meet the needs of cultural heritage organizations working on response. Kaneko completed her Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Riverside, in 2017. Her dissertation, entitled “Performing Recovery: Music and Disaster Relief in Post-3.11 Japan,” examines the role of music in recovery efforts following the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear fallout that struck Northeast Japan on March 11, 2011. Kaneko conducted two years of fieldwork while based in Sendai as a visiting researcher at Miyagi University of Education.