Articles by Dr. Richard Kurin

Engineers concluded that the museum building (above: the Assyrian Hall in February 2019) was structurally sound and could be repaired. But much work would need to be done.

Iraq's Cultural Museum in Mosul Is on the Road to Recovery

The arduous process, says the Smithsonian's Richard Kurin, is "a victory over violent extremism"

How Haiti’s Devastating Earthquake Prompted a Worldwide Effort to Safeguard Cultural Heritage

To safeguard cultural heritage, a massive Smithsonian-led cultural rescue operation can now be mobilized to help countries recover from disaster

The eye of Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas (above: Marsh Harbour after the storm) on September 1, 2019, leveling homes, crushing cars and killing people.

Rescuing Bahamian Culture From Dorian’s Wrath

A team of Smithsonian conservation specialists tours the islands and offers expertise

As we gathered at the graveyard, facing the sea and a memorial to the deceased, rain clouds parted, and the crowd was moved by the appearance of a rainbow.

World War I Handmade American Flag to Stay in Scotland

The Smithsonian Institution extends its loan of the historic artifact to Islay—a small island with a big heart

The beauty and grace of the third century funerary bust, known as Haliphat, helped convey an important chapter of history as well as the significance of preserving her and what remains of Palmyra.

Two Sculptures of Ancient Women Give Voice to the Protection of Antiquities in War Zones

The Smithsonian's elegant Haliphat of Palmyra and the blue-eyed Miriam from Yemen raise awareness of the illegal trade in and destruction of antiquities

Using the encyclopedia as a guide, a group of Islay villagers worked through the night stitching together a Stars and Stripes.

A Hundred-Year-Old Handmade American Flag Flies Home. . . to Scotland

When WWI soldiers died off the coast of Islay Island, a group of villagers brought honor to their memory with this flag

A bicyclist rides by the destroyed old mosque and tomb of  Nabi Jerjis, also known as Saint George, in central Mosul in July 2014.

Commentary

Why We Need to Fight to Save Mosul’s Cultural Heritage

As the battle to save Iraq from ISIS continues, Smithsonian experts are helping local people preserve their history

Librarian Aboubakar Yaro examines an Islamic manuscript from the 17th century at the Djenne Library of Manuscipts, in Djenne, Mali, September 2012. Djenne is thought to have at least 10,000 manuscripts held in private collections, dating from the 14th to 20th centuries.

Why We Have a Civic Responsibility to Protect Cultural Treasures During Wartime

With the recent deliberate destruction of cultural treasures in the Middle East, we remember the measures taken in the past to preserve our heritage

The Smithsonian Castle Building, in a colorized photograph taken by Alexander Gardner, was severely damaged in a January 1865 fire.

The Devastating Fire That Nearly Consumed the Smithsonian Castle in 1865

The Smithsonian Undersecretary for History, Art and Culture reflects on the history of the iconic building and its ongoing legacy

Asked to choose one artifact, the Smithsonian's Undersecretary for Arts, History and Culture Richard Kurin selected this spinning wheel from the collections of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

For Every Object, There Is a Story to Tell

A Smithsonian curator is asked to select just one artifact

Paper conservator Bernard Colla treats a gouache from the Centre d‘Art collection.

Since the Haitian Earthquake Four Years Ago, Helping Hands Made a World of Difference

The Smithsonian's Under Secretary for History, Art & Culture reflects on the effort to recover Haiti's cultural heritage in the aftermath of the 2010 quake

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