Smithsonian Global

Corine Wegener

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Photo credit Michael R Barnes.



Power to Convene
Advisory Services
Cultural Resilience
Cultural Sustainability

Corine Wegner is the director of the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI), an outreach program dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage in crisis situations in the U.S. and abroad. SCRI’s work includes projects in Syria, Iraq, Haiti, Nepal, and around the world. SCRI also co-chairs, with FEMA’s Office of Environmental and Historic Preservation, the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, part of the U.S. National Disaster Recovery Framework.

Wegener’s connection to Smithsonian began with the Haiti Cultural Recovery Project, where she served as international project coordinator for the preservation of more than 30,000 objects of Haitian heritage after the devastating 2010 earthquake. Before her arrival to the Smithsonian, Wegener was an associate curator in the department of Decorative Arts, Textiles, and Sculpture at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. In her concurrent career as a US Army Reserve officer, she served on several military deployments, including as an Arts, Monuments, and Archives Officer assigned to assist after the 2003 looting of the Iraq National Museum. Now retired from the Army Reserve, she continues to serve on the board of the Civil Affairs Association and organizes regular military cultural heritage awareness events at Smithsonian. In 2006, Corine founded the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, part of an international organization dedicated to raising awareness of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the event of Armed Conflict. Her efforts led to the U.S. ratification of this important treaty in 2009.

Wegener lectures and writes about the importance of cultural property protection during natural disasters and armed conflict. Wegener has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Nebraska Omaha and MA degrees in Political Science and Art History from the University of Kansas.


Safeguarding the Heritage of Syria and Iraq (SHOSI)   Active

Smithsonian works with international partners to stem the destruction of cultural heritage in Syria and Iraq.

Haiti Cultural Recovery Project   Active

After the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Smithsonian worked with a wide array of dedicated, caring professionals from around the world to support the recovery of damaged and at risk Haitian cultural heritage.

U.N. Joint mission of UNESCO and Mali Ministry of Culture : Workshop, “Managing Museums in the Face of Conflict,”   Active

In 2012, armed Islamic extremist groups occupied northern Mali. Proponents of strict sharia law, these groups destroyed many Sufi religious shrines and heritage sites, labeling them as idolatrous. After a return to stability, the recommendations of a UNESCO expert conference led to the January 2014 workshop, “Museums Facing Situations of Armed Conflict: A Regional Workshop for West African Museum Professionals” at the National Museum of Mali in Bamako.

Smithsonian and the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage   Active

Since 2015, Smithsonian experts have been working with Iraqi cultural heritage professionals to support the recovery and preservation of Iraq’s cultural heritage sites at the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage in Erbil.