We've all seen the film The Monuments Men. Questionnable as its own artistic merit may be the film served to bring the attention of the contemporary audience to this little-known heroic endeavour to save cultural property during World War II.
A major outcome of this (and earlier British) work was the 1954 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, known in the heritage field as 'The Hague Convention' (there are other Hague Conventions in other fields). Australia only ratified this Convention in 1984 and has not yet ratified its first or second protocols, despite encouragements to do so (for example in the recent Borders of Culture Report (download) pp. 125 - 133). A prescribed blue and white shield symbol represents this Convention.
Blue Shield Australia was established in 2004 to bring the pillar bodies (representing museums, libraries, archives (including sound archives) and places) together to facilitate coordinated action in the event of emergencies (now including natural disasters).
Next week United Kingdom National Committee of the Blue Shield Board Member Dr Nigel Pollard is delivering the results of some of his research in a lecture titled: 'Heritage and Spatial Knowledge in the Second World War: how the 'Monuments Men' documented cultural property'.
Click here to see the flier for this lecture next Friday 16 September.
Click here for information about the same lecture in Melbourne on 28 September.
Click here to see our news item from last year 'Calling Curators with a sense of Adventure...and U.S. Citizenship', about new recruitment to the old Monuments Men Program within the US Army. (Apologies for the broken link in this news item. The archive function on The Arts Newspaper website seems not to work in this instance.)