Sustainable preservation happens through local leadership. In recognition of this powerful idea, Watch Day was launched in 2012 to promote community engagement and empower local partners to leverage and capitalize on the national and international attention drawn from their inclusion on the World Monuments Watch. A series of celebratory and educational events organized by local communities and supported wholly or in part by WMF, Watch Day events bring more attention to the preservation needs of the sites, and help local partners build capacities for community engagement. Watch sites are encouraged to organize a program that fits the needs and nature of the site and local community, while WMF develops a variety of resources to help support the activities.
Over 130 Watch sites have hosted Watch Day events since its inception, ranging from conservation workshops, drawing competitions, site cleanup days, exhibitions, guided site visits, and more, to deepen local appreciation and advocate for the heritage that is central to their lives.
Watch Day highlights the importance of vibrant community engagement and local stewardship in the sustainable preservation of heritage sites.
Recent Watch Day Highlights
In April 2022, a Watch Day at the House of Colored Glass in Iwamatsu, Japan, welcomed over 100 local residents for music performances and a presentation of the site's history and significance.
Traditional Houses of Bukhara
In March 2022, a Watch Day featuring the Traditional Bukharian Jewish Houses was held in Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
In Februrary 2022, the Friends of Bennerley Viaduct hosted a tour of the 2020 Watch site, showcasing their work with Railway Paths, Historic England, World Monuments Fund, and local to make a real difference for this magnificent historic structure and the people who live nearby.
On September 6, 2021, Ontario Place welcomed Ontarians for Watch Day community-centered activities developed in collaboration with local artists Jake Tobin Garrett and Lindsay Zier-Vogel. Throughout Watch Day, visitors explored their hopes and dreams for Ontario Place’s future.
Sacred Valley of the Incas
On August 14, 2021 the Sacred Valley of the Incas gathered around 200 people for a Watch Day series of visits around the most important cultural sites of Maras, raising awareness of the need for inclusivity and equity in decisions regarding the site's rapid urban and tourism development.
Watch Day in September 2020 included a lecture and a panel discussion in which participants learned about the importance of Protestant culture in Poland and Europe, and explored common visions for the future function of the site.
Chivas and Chaityas of the Kathmandu Valley
Watch Day in October 2020 included site cleaning activities and expert-led tours, photographic displays featuring the history of the shrines helped raise awareness of the challenges to their preservation, while interactive activities invited children and adults alike to reflect on the significance of the chaityas and their preservation.
Cerro de Oro
Watch Day welcomed more than 300 visitors from the surrounding communities with tours of the different areas of the archaeological site. Students received an educational booklet developed specifically for this occasion, used to create a more engaging visit.
Potager du Roi
A two-day open house to celebrate the garden and its stewards, Watch Day featured guided tours and workshops with the gardeners, a series performances, and more.
Grand Theater in Prince Kung's Mansion
A Watch Day lecture and guided tours at Beijing’s Grand Theater celebrated the International Museum Day and highlighted the building’s unique architectural style and decorative features.
Post-Independence Architecture of Delhi
Watch Day gathered various stakeholders, including owners, building users, and the general public in a day dedicated to shaping local support and activism for Delhi’s modern heritage.
Sukur Cultural Landscape
A two-day Watch Day at Sukur celebrated the site's inclusion on the 2018 Watch, as part of an annual Harvest Celebration organized by the Chief and community leaders of Sukur.
Char Narayan Temple
Two years and a day after the great earthquake of 2015 wrought so much damage on the cultural heritage of the Kathmandu Valley, a Watch Day event commemorated the ongoing efforts to restore the Char Narayan Temple.
Arch of Janus
A Watch Day event for the Arch of Janus highlighted the ensemble of monuments that make up the Forum Boarium, with guided tours of the arch and restored monuments nearby and a concert.
Students from the University of Duhok’s spatial planning department and a local high school participated in a series of guided tours and discussions in the historic city.
Água da Prata Aqueduct
Guided tours and a workshop commemorated the 483 year anniversary of the beginning of the construction works of the aqueduct.
A series of Watch Day activities celebrated the Kucapungane Rukai, one of Taiwan’s indigenous Austronesian tribes, whose heritage is slowly being lost due to migration and the erosion of their traditional craft skills and beliefs.
Watch Day included a public debate about the local programs for seismic risk and the vulnerability of the city’s built heritage, as well as a short film screening.
A march to Great Zimbabwe, with maintenance demonstrations along the way, called out the need for cooperation among the different stakeholders in the protection and preservation of the historic site.
Church of São Cristóvão
Watch Day celebrated the return of a hidden painting of the Last Supper by Bento Coelho that was discovered in the altarpiece with a live conservation demonstration.
Watch Day served as an occasion to celebrate, and call public attention to the significance and current condition of the Boix House, along with the historic character of the surrounding neighborhood.
Local advocates and community members celebrated Shukhov Tower Watch Day in Moscow in March 2016 as part of the celebration of the tower’s 94th anniversary. Activities included walking tours, a press conference, book read, film screenings, and children’s art activities.
Moseley Road Baths
Over 300 visitors of all ages enjoyed Watch Day at Moseley Road Baths, with activities ranging from tours of the building, musical performances, Edwardian games, and more. Watch Day celebrated 109 years of Moseley Road Baths.
Watch Day activities for Rumiqolqa began with guided tours of the archaeological site and quarry for artists and local students. Activities continued in the nearby town of Andahuaylillas with art contests, presentations about Rumiqolqa’s heritage, cultural performances, and an art exhibition.
General Cemetery of Santiago
Close to 80 people including architecture students and professionals, gathered for a sketching competition at the 200-year-old cemetery, capturing its inherent cultural values through the act of drawing.
Ladeira da Misericordia
Architecture and urban planning students joined artists and professors for a series of lectures and performances during Watch Day at Lina Bo Bardi’s abandoned Coaty Restaurant in the Ladeira da Misericordia.
Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso
Watch Day included a wide variety of activities like garden workshops, a media campaign, and roundtable discussions that showcased the multidisciplinary nature, as well as the social and cultural values of the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso.
Fundación Desierto de Atacama led residents of the nearby city of Calama on an educational guided tour and discussion of the site. Watch Day, held on May 29, 2016, coincided with Chile’s annual celebration of Heritage Day.
Watch Day Resources
Watch Day is a series of celebratory events that promote community engagement and empower local partners to leverage and capitalize on the national and international attention drawn from being included on the World Monuments Watch. WMF developed a series of activity pages for schoolchildren to celebrate this initiative.