2017-2018 Annual Report

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Penn Cultural Heritage Center

The summer 2018 PennCHC interns, shown here with Dr. Richard Leventhal, developed Cultural Heritage Sites Lists for Bosnia, Mali, and Syria.

The Penn Cultural Heritage Center (PennCHC) brings together academics and local communities to explore pressing cultural heritage issues, to activate conversations about why the past is important, and to preserve heritage sites around the world. Founded at the Penn Museum in 2008, the PennCHC is at the forefront of university-based organizations dedicated to protecting cultural heritage. It channels Penn’s longstanding tradition of applying expert knowledge to pressing contemporary issues by combining research with outreach initiatives—including fieldwork, public programs and lectures, and digital initiatives—to preserve cultural heritage.

PennCHC’s projects throughout the world—in Mexico, Iraq, Italy, the United States, and other countries—demonstrate the importance of engaging communities in cultural heritage initiatives and the connection of cultural heritage to the cultural, social, political, and economic development of communities worldwide.

Cultural Heritage and Armed Conflict Data Resource (CHAAC DATA):

group posing for an outdoor photo

CHAAC-DATA builds on the PennCHC’s research on cultural heritage destruction and its foundational role with the Conflict Culture Research Network (CCRN) by gathering information about cultural destruction in conflict situations. As the database continues to collect contributions from interns around the world—63 of them as of June 2018–it will play an important role in international peacebuilding processes and post-conflict reconciliation programming related to cultural heritage.

Cultural Heritage Site Inventory (CHSI):

Humanitarian intervention during disasters and emergencies can be difficult because there has not been a global inventory of cultural heritage sites. By building such an inventory, CHSI has already aided in emergency responses by the Smithsonian Cultural Research Initiative and the Heritage Emergency Task Force to museums affected by hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Safeguarding the Heritage of Syria and Iraq (SHOSI) Project:

children excavating

Led by the PennCHC, Smithsonian Institution, International Council of Museums, and Syrians for Heritage (SIMAT), the SHOSI Project engages directly with Syrian and Iraqi archaeologists, museum professionals, and conservators who are working to protect endangered sites and collections in their care. The Museum’s 2017–18 special exhibition Cultures in the Crossfire: Stories from Syria and Iraq spotlighted the continued preservation interventions of this project.

Tihosuco Heritage Preservation and Community Development Project (Quintana Roo, Mexico)

group of people excavating

Read more about the project ⬏

Marzamemi Maritime Heritage Project (Marzamemi, Italy)

divers noting about underwater architecture

Read more about the project ⬏

Weyka Heritage Project (California, USA)

Dr. Brian I. Daniels speaking to a group of people

Read more about the project ⬏