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
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.
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.
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.
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.