US/ICOMOS Receives $1 Million Grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to Develop Monuments Toolkit

Removal of Stonewall Jackson statue from Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia on July 1, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 28, 2021 — The United States National Committee of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS) has been awarded a two-year, $1 million grant by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the development of a Monument Relocation, Removal, and Reinterpretation Toolkit (“Monuments Toolkit”).

Controversial monuments dominate public spaces, propagate narratives of oppression, and deepen social divisions across the United States. The US/ICOMOS Monuments Toolkit aims to answer the question “how do we address monuments of oppression?”

Over the past two years, US/ICOMOS has initiated provocative conversations with experts on how to best address monuments of oppression. We envision our Monuments Toolkit as a cohesive and safe space to continue these conversations, to explore different ways to approach controversial monuments, and to connect stakeholders and individuals working on these issues to similar case studies. ​​US/ICOMOS is uniquely positioned to engage in this work thanks to our global network of heritage practitioners, our ability to reach out to those who develop and implement policy, and our ability to engage those who have established or are establishing relevant programs.

“In 2020, we began promoting social justice in the heritage sector by highlighting diverse voices and engaging in more inclusive conversations. This grant will continue and greatly enhance these efforts as the Mellon Foundation enables us to serve a much broader audience with useful tools for real change,” noted US/ICOMOS President Douglas C. Comer.

The program will be supported by a multi-disciplinary staff of heritage and historic preservation professionals and community organizers from around the country. The two-year endeavor to create the US/ICOMOS Monuments Toolkit will result in an app and website featuring:

  • Case studies that examine instances of organizations and governments addressing monuments of oppression from around the world.
  • An interactive map that individuals can use to document  controversial monuments and the actions being taken to address them. As our database of monuments and actions grows, the map will employ an algorithm to share similar monuments from our case studies in order to assist users.
  • A decision guide for determining what approach should be taken with future monuments.
  • Training materials for advocacy work and guidance for how to approach local leaders when addressing monuments of oppression.

US/ICOMOS will create an Advisory Panel composed of subject matter experts, long-standing and well-known professionals in the heritage sector, regional experts, and thought leaders to provide guidance and support for staff hired to undertake this project. Once the two-year initiative funded by the Mellon Foundation has been completed, US/ICOMOS staff will administer and maintain the Monuments Toolkit app and website.

About US/ICOMOS

The United States National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS) is part of the worldwide ICOMOS network of people, institutions, government agencies, and private corporations who support the conservation of the world’s heritage. For over 50 years, US/ICOMOS has worked to deliver the best of international historic preservation and heritage conservation work to the U.S. domestic preservation dialogue, while sharing and interpreting for the world the unique American historic preservation system.

As the only U.S. professional preservation organization with a global focus, US/ICOMOS is the gateway for U.S. professionals to participate in worldwide heritage conservation. US/ICOMOS guides and promotes activities through an extensive membership network of preservation professionals, institutions, and organizations, including specialized scientific committees. US/ICOMOS also organizes an annual international scientific symposium, an international intern exchange program, and occasional special training courses and workshops.

US/ICOMOS is a private, non-profit, non-governmental organization with 501(c)(3) status.

For more information, please contact monumentstoolkit [@] usicomos.org or call US/ICOMOS at (202) 463-1291.

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