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2023 Conference


Cultural Heritage Anti-trafficking Training for Federal Law Enforcement

9:00 a.m. – 9:35 a.m.

| Thursday, September 28

The U.S. has a long history of allied professionals working to help rescue and preserve looted and stolen cultural heritage. For more than a decade, the staff of the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute (MCI) have worked with colleagues across the Institution and throughout the federal government to organize training workshops that draw on resources and expertise within the cultural heritage field to assist law enforcement personnel fighting the looting and trafficking of our shared history. These workshops are one of the many ways the Smithsonian Institution works to strengthen cultural resources and support colleagues in times of crisis. This presentation will provide an overview of these efforts, undertaken in collaboration with our partners in the U.S. Department of State’s Cultural Antiquities Task Force — from long-standing, in-person introductory courses with special sessions on object handling and documentation, to the recent implementation of an online, advanced workshop series designed to reflect current events, spotlight the voices of in-country experts, and build academic and governmental response networks.

About MCI: Established in 1965 as the Conservation Research Laboratory (later names include the Conservation Analytical Laboratory, and the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education), MCI is the center for specialized technical collections research and conservation for all Smithsonian museums and collections. Through a range of conservation and cultural heritage protection programs, MCI staff provide education and technical assistance for the protection and stewardship of cultural heritage worldwide.


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