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Saving Post-War Heritage

2008 Hadrian Award
WMF's 2008 Hadrian Award will be presented to Houghton and Doreen Freeman and the Freeman Foundation for their unparalleled commitment to historic preservation in China and Japan.
A gala award presentation will take place at the Plaza in New York on Thursday, October 16, 2008. 
For additional information or to purchase tickets, please contact WMF at (646)-424-9594.
Award-winning WMF Projects
WMF was pleased to learn that our recently completed project at St. George's Church, Bloomsbury, London, has won the 2008 Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) London Region Award for Craftsmanship in Conservation.
Another WMF project, the International Built Heritage Conservation Training Center at Bontida, Romania, recently won Europa Nostra's main prize in the category of Education, Training, and Raising Awareness for 2008.

WMF Mourns Victims of Recent Natural Disasters
We at WMF mourn the victims of the recent natural disasters in China and Myanmar. We keep the people of these two countries in our thoughts at this catastrophic time.

In disaster-stricken areas, the first priority is to save lives, prevent epidemics, and rule out the possibility of secondary disasters. Amongst these secondary disasters, damage is often done to historic buildings in the process of clearance and repair. 

WMF's post-disaster work often focuses on preventing inadvertent demolition and poor repairs at important heritage sites. Already, Chinese experts with the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the international organization ICOMOS are busy assessing the damage to the area's monuments and sites, and sending this information to colleagues in the West. 

Two highly important sites known to be damaged are the Two Kings Temple near Dujiangyan (a UNESCO World Heritage site) and the fortified village of Zangqiang Diaolou, a property currently on China's tentative list for future World Heritage designation. 

Next month, when the World Heritage Committee meets in Quebec, China will present more extensive reports on these sites, as well as an appeal for the listing of Diaolou to be expedited, so that emergency assistance may begin. WMF will be there to hear the reports, and prepare for any help we can give when circumstances permit.
Bonnie's signature 
Bonnie Burnham, President
Revelations in Rome
Temple of Portunus, Rome
Several sites in Rome where WMF has been working to conserve major Roman and early Christian heritage made the news in recent weeks. At the Temple of Portunus (above), perhaps the most important Roman Republican structure still standing, the discovery of a 9th-century fresco fragment of St. Mary of Egypt was discovered in the course of restoration. This discovery has shed new light on the pagan temple's conversion to a Christian church in the early medieval period. Many Roman temples, like the adjacent Temple of Hercules in the Forum Boarium, were reused in early Christian and medieval times as churches, and even as housing. WMF's work at these two sites has revealed previously unknown early mural paintings, adding to our historical understanding of the period.
This spring, three rooms in the House of Augustus, the residence of Rome's first emperor, c. 30 BC, were opened to the public, marking the beginning of a major conservation campaign on the Palatine Hill. WMF is participating in the second phase of this project, the restoration of the Room of the Perspective, which is already underway. Visitors, while in limited numbers, are able to view the extraordinarily vivid frescoes for the first time since they were painted more than 2,000 years ago.
At the nearby Santa Maria Antiqua, in the Roman Forum, the spectacular discovery of several layers of early Christian murals was unveiled briefly, coinciding with the opening of the House of Augustus. The restoration continues, slated for completion in 2009, after years of painstaking work.
Read more about the Temple of Portunus and the Temple of Hercules in the Forum Boarium, the House of Augustus on the Palatine Hill, and Santa Maria Antiqua in the Roman Forum.
Watch Site Update: Wedding Bells in Shanghai Synagogue
Ohel Rachel Synagogue, Shanghai 
WMF was pleased to learn that the Ohel Rachel synagogue in Shanghai hosted its first wedding in 60 years this past March. Built in 1920, the synagogue avoided destruction after the Communist revolution of 1949, unlike many other houses of worship, because it was converted into a storage facility and later used as an auditorium. It is one of only two synagogues in Shanghai (out of at least seven) that still survive, reminders of the city's once-thriving Jewish community that largely faded away after 1949. A strong advocate for Ohel Rachel, WMF placed the site on the 2002 and 2004 Watch Lists, and has recently met with Shanghai city officials to discuss its conservation. 
WMF's Lisa Ackerman Wins First Ann Webster Smith Award
WMF congratulates Lisa Ackerman, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, on winning the first US/ICOMOS Ann Webster Smith Award for International Heritage Achievement. The award honors an American individual, group, or organization for extraordinary achievement in making the United States a respected partner in conserving the world's cultural heritage.