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 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.
Close to 80 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
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.
Colonial Churches of Santiago
A two-day Watch Day event featured guided tours and presentations at two temples in Santiago de Cuba. Watch Day also included performances by local musicians and dancers, as well as a light installation by artist Gaspare di Caro.
Gon-Nila-Phuk Cave Temples and Fort
After a heritage walk to the caves, Watch Day participants learned about the importance of the cave paintings from the head monk of Likir Monastery. The event also included traditional dances and folk music, and a traditional meal.
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.
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.