A Case for Conservation

The Getty Trust will invest $100M in a 10-year plan to save global artifacts

The funding will allow Getty to expand its site-specific conservation efforts, like this one in Kato Paphos Archeological Park, Paphos, Cyprus. (Courtesy J. Paul Getty Trust)

In a statement of its dedication to conservation efforts, the J. Paul Getty Trust has announced a $100 million investment to support the preservation of global antiquities. The funding will provide the baseline for Ancient Worlds Now: A Future for the Past, a broader incentive focusing on the scholarship, conservation, and exhibition of increasingly fading antiquities in an age where a number of factors pose a threat to their safety.

“In an age of resurgent populism, sectarian violence, and climate change, the future of the world’s common heritage is at risk,” said James Cuno, president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust.  “Cultural heritage embodies a global community united by a common need to make things of beauty and usefulness and to compose stories and rituals about humanity’s place in the world. We will launch with urgency and build momentum for years to come. This work must start now, before more cultural heritage is neglected, damaged, or destroyed. Much is at stake.”

The initiative presents a notable expansion beyond the focus areas of ancient Greece and Rome that have remained at the forefront of Getty’s funding until now. A global expansion into new territories like South and Central America, Asia, and Africa will ensure that conservation efforts are as comprehensive as possible.

While Ancient Worlds Now: A Future for the Past will take a number of forms during its 10-year timeline, one of the biggest components will be increasing conservation efficiency by utilizing local talent. The program will train local conservators and specialists from around the world to work on-site, eliminating the need for Getty employees to manage individual projects. Additional plans include support for digital mapping of excavations, traveling research seminars, and expanded upcoming exhibitions at Los Angeles’s Getty Museum highlighting the ancient classical world.

People looking at a mosaic floor

Mosaic floor in the House of Aion, Kato Paphos Archeological Park, Paphos, Cyprus. Continued work at Paphos will be undertaken as part of Ancient Worlds Now. (Courtesy J. Paul Getty Trust)

Getty plans to partner with major global cultural and educational institutions as well as government organizations and private sector entities in order to maximize the impact of the project. A cross-disciplinary focus will be enacted through the involvement of Getty’s four programs—The Getty Foundation, Getty Research Institute, Getty Conservation Institute, and the J. Paul Getty Museum.

As Getty continues to engage its partnerships, an official program launch is slated for summer 2020; the initiative is expected to last through 2030 and beyond.

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