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Monuments Men Foundation For the Preservation of Art
Monuments Men Foundation
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Home - About The Foundation

About The Foundation

About the Monuments Men:

The “Monuments Men” were a group of approximately 345 men and women from thirteen nations who comprised the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section during World War II. Many were museum directors, curators, art historians, and educators. Together they worked to protect monuments and other cultural treasures from the destruction of World War II. In the last year of the war, they tracked, located, and ultimately returned more than 5 million artistic and cultural items stolen by Hitler and the Nazis. Their role in preserving cultural treasures was without precedent.

The Monuments Men remained in Europe for up to six years following the conclusion of fighting to oversee the complicated restitution of stolen works of art. During that time they played instrumental roles in rebuilding cultural life in the devastated countries of Europe by organizing temporary art exhibitions and musical concerts. Art and culture mattered greatly then –  today – to the Monuments Men.

Upon returning home, many of the Monuments Men and women had extraordinarily prominent roles in building some of the greatest cultural and educational institutions in the United States. They became directors and curators of world renowned museums such as the Met, the MOMA, the National Gallery of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and many others. Other revered institutions, such as the New York City Ballet, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts, were the tangible results of ideas of the Monuments Men.

Mission Statement:
    
To preserve the legacy of the unprecedented and heroic work of the men and women who served in the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (“MFAA”) section, known as “Monuments Men,” during World War II, by raising public awareness of the importance of protecting and safeguarding civilization’s most important artistic and cultural treasures from armed conflict, while incorporating these expressions of man's greatest creative achievements into our daily lives.
        
Objectives:
    
1. To identify, locate and honor all those who served in the MFAA section, regardless of nationality, and those who were instrumental in protecting Europe and Russia’s greatest cultural treasures during World War II.
  • Continue research to identify remaining unknown members of the MFAA
  • Compile biographies on members of the MFAA
  • Conduct video interviews with surviving Monuments Men and other key participants
  • Work with organizations and institutions built by Monuments Men to honor them and their contributions
2. The Foundation will seek to promote and support educational programs in schools and universities in furtherance of the Foundation's Mission Statement. We believe this story, with its exciting still and moving images, can be an excellent teaching tool. It is our goal to work with business and civic leaders to fund the placement of a unique multi-hour DVD including The Rape of Europa documentary plus never before seen footage along with copies of the related book to all schools and libraries in the country.

3. To identify, honor, and bestow the annual “Monuments Men” Award to individuals and institutions that represent and uphold the principles and ideals of the “Monuments Men” by making an extraordinary contribution to the protection of civilization’s most important artistic and cultural treasures.
     
4. To facilitate the recovery and restitution of important artistic, cultural, and historic treasures and documents that were stolen during World War II and have yet to be located.

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