Cultural heritage and the modern-day “Monuments Men”
Cultural heritage sites around the world are threatened by armed conflict and natural disaster. On July 8 at 7 p.m., Dr. Hayden Bassett will describe the recent efforts of the Cultural Heritage Monitoring Lab and the modern day “Monuments Men,” and the emerging role of museums and other civilian research institutions in global cultural property protection. Salem Museum members who are fully vaccinated are welcome to attend in person; please call 540-389-6760 to pre-register. All others are invited to watch the program via Zoom. The link will be posted on the Salem Museum’s website on the morning of the talk.
The Cultural Heritage Monitoring Lab, housed at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville, is a collaborative effort with the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative. Among other technologies, the Lab utilizes high-resolution satellite imagery to rapidly identify in real time the destructive events and active threats to monuments, museums, archives, historic buildings, archaeological sites, and landscapes worldwide. Through its partnership with the Smithsonian Institute, the Lab serves the US Army’s recently reactivated Monuments Men unit.
Dr. Bassett is the Archaeology Curator at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, and a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution. Over the past 15 years, he has conducted archaeological fieldwork in the US, Jamaica, Barbados, Bermuda, Tanzania, Kenya, Djibouti, Bahrain, and Italy. He has undertaken this fieldwork for academic research, and for NGO and US Department of Defense stakeholders. Previously, Dr. Bassett directed archaeological fieldwork and advised US military planners in advance of their activities abroad.
Dr. Bassett continues to work closely with the Department of Defense to protect global cultural heritage. Today, in addition to his curatorial role, he also serves as the Director of the Cultural Heritage Monitoring Lab at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, providing advanced satellite monitoring of global cultural heritage to the modern-day “Monuments Men” in the US Army Reserves.
Dr. Bassett received a B.A. in Archaeology from the University of Virginia, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Archaeology from the College of William & Mary. He currently resides in Martinsville.
- Submitted by Fran Ferguson, Salem Museum Executive Director