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Saving Cultural Heritage In Crisis: From Haiti and Hurricanes, Iraq to Ukraine

April 17, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Historic Annapolis, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is pleased to welcome Dr. Richard Kurin, Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large of the Smithsonian Institution, for a special presentation.

Ever since the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the Smithsonian has become a national and international leader in responding to cultural crises caused by natural disaster and human conflict. It has worked with FEMA, cultural organizations, and local partners in the U.S. following hurricanes and flooding to save museum collections, as well as help survivors recover their family treasures. In Mali, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Smithsonian teams have protected cultural heritage from terrorism, trained local professionals, developed new techniques for monitoring, and predicting destruction, helped with the recovery of institutions—like the Mosul Museum, joined with the U.S. Army in revitalizing the “monuments men and women,” and worked with the FBI and Homeland Security on identifying and repatriating stolen and trafficked antiquities.

The Smithsonian’s Dr. Richard Kurin recounts these efforts and concentrates on current efforts in Ukraine. Culture has been at the crux of the conflict, with Putin denying Ukrainian history and identity, and Ukrainians fighting for their freedom to preserve it. Dr. Kurin goes behind the scenes, describing how the Smithsonian has worked with partners in providing supplies, materials, and equipment to Ukrainian institutions to protect valued collections and facilities, holding Zoom conferences to advise hundreds of cultural professionals on best emergency practices, and supporting “conservation house-calls” throughout Ukraine. He also explains his team’s effort to monitor some 28,000 cultural sites in Ukraine and document damage and destruction—potential war crimes—via satellite sensors and imagery.

This lecture is presented in partnership with the Smithsonian Affiliates and Maryland Hall. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A.

Registration required.

Cost: FREE


Maryland Hall
801 Chase Street
Annapolis, MD 21401 United States
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Historic Annapolis
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