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Cultural Emergency Response: First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Crisis

Produced in partnership with the Prince Claus Fund, this panel discusses the urgent need and practicalities of the protection of culture in crisis situations

TEFAF Talks are interactive panel discussions presented in collaboration with TEFAF’s partners to share knowledge and expertise.

We all know how vulnerable our museums, monuments, and collections can be in a crisis situation. But how do we protect them? And why is this so important? What does it actually mean to lose culture for people and communities?

This panel of experts discusses the urgent need and practicalities of the protection of culture in crisis situations by reflecting on recent rescue actions in Haiti, Afghanistan, and the current conflict in Ukraine. For weeks, the Prince Claus Fund’s Cultural Emergency Response (CER) has been working closely with the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI) and local experts on the ground to protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage and identity. The fundraiser organized at the TEFAF fairs this year is in support of this important work.

CER provides “first aid” to cultural heritage under threat in conflict and disaster areas. Acting as a cultural ambulance, it provides quick support and expertise to local actors to stabilize, rescue and prevent further damage. With TEFAF as a close partner since 2008, CER has saved hundreds of heritage sites, collections, and spaces all over the world.


Corine Wegener, The Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative

Sanne Letschert, Prince Claus Fund

Moderated by Lisa Pilosi, Metropolitan Museum

This TEFAF Talk in partnership with the Prince Claus Fund was part of TEFAF New York 2022’s programming and recorded live on May 7, 2022.

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