Data Research

The PennCHC’s intellectual research draws upon Penn’s longstanding tradition of applying expert knowledge to pressing contemporary problems. Noting that many of the basic questions surrounding cultural heritage have yet to receive proper theoretical attention, the PennCHC aims to address such questions as what constitutes cultural heritage, cultural properties, communities, and sacred objects; why have cultural heritage and human rights become intertwined; what responsibilities do academics and museums have toward their indigenous, scholarly, and public constituencies; and what is the future of heritage policy and museums more broadly.


The PennCHC has worked with the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative and over 70 interns and volunteers to collect data about museums, libraries, and archives around the world to compile a cultural repository inventory. This inventory, the first such digital list globally, can be used to analyze data about cultural heritage destruction during conflict and to assess damage to cultural heritage sites after conflict or natural disaster.

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

The PennCHC is leading the effort to assemble the Cultural Heritage and Armed Conflict Data Resource (CHAAC-DATA), which will enable the investigation of understudied topics about conflict dynamics, provide critical data about cultural heritage sites and the destruction they experience during conflict to the broader research community, and inform public policy around the protection of cultural heritage sites, humanitarian interventions, and international peace and security.

This project will

  1. Develop CHEV, a geo-referenced dataset of cultural heritage destruction events between 1989 and 2016, which will be interoperable with conflict data such as the Armed Conflict and Location Event Data (ACLED) Project and Uppsala Conflict Data Project;
  2. Develop CHSL, a reference cultural heritage site list, which will be drawn from existing data resources including the OpenStreeMap dataset and MuseumGEO.