Special Initiatives

Our work is united by a fundamental mission to preserve the world's most treasured places.

These special initiatives allow us to extend our reach beyond individual projects at specific sites and address broader themes in heritage preservation.

Climate Change

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World Monuments Fund
Scott’s Hut and the Explorer’s Heritage: Antarctic

Around the world, climate change and the degradation of Earth’s fragile ecosystems due to human activity are beginning to seriously affect cultural heritage sites. Rising sea levels, mutable rainfall patterns, increases in storm severity, and drought have had a impact.

WMF is dedicated not only to protecting historic sites, but also to using traditional methods suited to the local environment, strengthening community participation in protecting cultural resources, encouraging green building materials, and promoting sustainable tourism.

As WMF learns more about the increasing number of heritage sites threatened by the effects of global climate change, we are examining ways in which we can help. It is imperative that the field of cultural historic preservation issue a call to action, and that we work more closely with the environmental conservation movement. We share a common mission and we need to develop strategies to preserve and protect our natural and cultural resources for future generations to enjoy.

 

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Educational Partnerships

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World Monuments Fund

World Monuments Fund's work is enriched by partnerships with universities, research centers, and educators. From documentation carried out by graduate students in preservation to mini-field schools organized for the benefit of students at Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design, education is a prominent feature of WMF's activities around the world. The World Monuments Watch has been featured in Time for Kids, enabling students in the United States to learn about cherished heritage sites across the globe. WMF and World Savvy have partnered to create project-based curriculum modules based on WMF projects and World Monuments Watch sites around the world to better prepare students to be global citizens.

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European Fine Interiors

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World Monuments Fund
European Fine Interiors

The European Fine Interiors Program, managed by WMF Europe, addresses threats faced by significant but neglected architectural interiors. Complex issues often arise because of the many different and occasionally exotic materials that were utilized, making these interiors frequently unique examples of artistic expression. The Program assists in the conservation of these architectural interiors, but importantly also brings them back to public attention and appreciation. Documentation and technical analysis is thorough, and when possible, opportunities for training in traditional crafts and preservation arts with European institutional and philanthropic partners are incorporated int o the project. Recent completed projects include the Salon de Musique in the Biblioteque de l’Arsenal iin Paris and the Grande Singerie in the Chateau de Chantilly. Current projects include the Royal Palace in Venice, the Sala Terrena in the Belvedere Palace in Venice, and Castle Hartenfels in Germany.

 

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Jewish Heritage

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World Monuments Fund
Zamość Renaissance Synagogue, Zamość, Poland

Jewish culture encompasses a history of migration, and wherever Jewish people have made their homes, they have built monuments to their traditions and faith. Some are breathtaking examples of architectural and artistic achievement, others are modest buildings with the simplest of adornment. All of them are testaments to the rich heritage of the Jewish Diaspora.

Unfortunately, hundreds of synagogues and other Jewish cultural sites around the world are in danger of disappearing forever, threatened by conflict, abandonment, neglect, inappropriate reuse, public apathy, or a simple lack of resources. In many instances, these structures are the only surviving evidence of local Jewish life.

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Modernism

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Florida Southern College
Frank Lloyd Wright's Florida Southern College

World Monuments Fund has worked for decades to save endangered architectural and cultural sites around the globe, from the earliest settlements to 20th-century architecture. In recent years, we have increasingly noted that modern buildings face the same physical threats as ancient structures, despite a mistaken view that modern materials are less fragile than those used in earlier times. In addition, 20th-century architecture often suffers from a lack of understanding of its historical significance.

The Modernism at Risk initiative represents extraordinary—yet threatened—20th-century sites that transcend specific definitions, and brings advocacy and education to the forefront.

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Sustainable Tourism

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World Monuments Fund
Tourists: Phnom Bakheng © Ken Feisel

Recognizing both the benefits and the pressures of tourism on cultural heritage sites around the world, the World Monuments Fund and American Express are partnering on a global initiative focused on sustainable tourism.

Unmanaged tourism can damage heritage sites, and high-profile sites often suffer the most. Managing the numbers of tourists and traffic flow is an essential component of sustainable tourism.

Sustainable tourism minimizes the negative impact of visitors on heritage sites and the surrounding environment, but also produces income and jobs for local communities. Responsible tourism is both culturally and environmentally sensitive.

The Sustainable Tourism initiative is part of the American Express Partners in Preservation program. The initiative rewards and encourages responsible stewardship of historic sites by supporting projects that integrate historic preservation, tourism management, and visitor education into efforts to protect and preserve cultural heritage sites around the world.

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