After the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Smithsonian worked with a wide array of dedicated, caring professionals from around the world to support the recovery of damaged and at risk Haitian cultural heritage.
The earthquake destroyed and damaged museums, churches, galleries, libraries and archives containing Haiti’s treasured artifacts, artworks, monuments, archives, and rare books. Inspired by the work of Corine Wegner, a real-life “Monuments Woman,” and building on long-standing relationships from the 2004 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Smithsonian teams worked with Haitian counterparts to craft a plan for recovering and preserving Haitian cultural heritage.
Smithsonian built partnerships with the Haitian government and critical Haitian NGOs, international partners, and U.S. organizations around these efforts, among them the U.S. President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities, the U.S. Department of State, USAID, UNESCO, ICCROM, the Broadway League, the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) and the International Committee for the Blue Shield. Smithsonian worked with these partners to create the Haiti Cultural Recovery Project to train and support Haitians in recovering and preserving their cultural heritage. Today this work continues in a new, permanent conservation facility at Quisqueya University in Port-au-Prince, where Haitian students and professionals can learn the latest conservation techniques and carry on this work into the future, to preserve their own cultural heritage.