A New Era of Collaboration and Digitized Resources: World War II Provenance Research Seminar, National Archives, Washington DC, 6-7 May 2011

Events and Conferences

On 5 May 2011, the International Research Portal for Records Related to Nazi-Era Cultural Property will be launched at the National Archives in Washington DC.

The International Research Portal is a collaboration of national and other archival institutions which have digitised their records on Nazi-Era cultural property in order to to extend public access to the widely-dispersed records through a single internet portal. The portal will enable families to research their losses, provenance researchers to locate important documentation, and historians to study newly accessible materials on the history of this period.

This collaborative project was established to fulfil the 1998 Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, the 2000 Vilnius Forum Declaration and the 2009 Terezin Declaration, in particular on the importance of making all such records publicly accessible. The portal links researchers to archival materials consisting of descriptions of records and, in many cases, digital images of the records themselves, that relate to cultural property that was stolen, looted, seized, forcibly sold, or otherwise lost during the Nazi-era. Cultural property documented in these records covers a broad range from artworks to books and libraries, religious objects, antiquities, archival documents, carvings, silver,and more.

The project was intiated by the National Archives of the United States, The National Archives of the United Kingdom, and the Federal Archives of Germany in May 2009. In June 2009 the Commission for Looted Art in Europe and the Centtral Registry of Information on Looted Cultural Property 1933-1945 joined the project as a partner with the National Archives of the UK.  Since then, seven more insitutions have agreed to participate. These are the Archives of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Archives of the Memorial de la Shoah (France), the Central State Archive of Supreme Bodies of Power and Government Ukraine, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the German Historical Museum, the National Archives of Belgium, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

This seminar, sponsored by the National Archives of the US, the US Association of Art Museum Directors, the American Association of Museums and the Smithsonian Institution, with additional support provided by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation, is using the launch as a springboard for a two-day seminar focused on the enormous progress made in recent years to increase access to materials and documents pertaining to cultural objects looted during the Second World War.

This program is aimed towards curators, registrars, provenance researchers, and all those interested in the processes of archival research. The aim is that after participating in this program, attendees will be better able to increase awarenss of, familiarity with and access to new resources and strategies for provenance research, current international collaborative projects and newly accessible electronic tools.

One session of the seminar will be devoted to the presentation of the web portal to attendees, and will familiarize them with the descriptions of records from participating repositories and digital images of the records themselves. Additional sessions will include representatives of important art historical archival repositories presenting other resources, newly digitized records and plans for future projects. Experts in provenance research will guide discussions on how to best utilize these materials, share results of recent and on-going research projects and recommend new approaches and systematic strategies in regards to museum collection research.

The brochure of the seminar is available here.  The final programme is here.

The seminar website is at and provides all available information about the seminar including abstracts of the papers, details of the speakers, and a full description of the programme.   

Speakers include:

Lynn H. Nicholas, independent scholar and author of The Rape of Europa
Nancy H.Yeide, National Gallery of Art and author of Beyond the Dreams of Avarice: The Hermann Goering Collection
Greg Bradsher, U.S. National Archives and author of
Holocaust-Era Assets: A Finding Aid to Records at the National Archives
Rebecca Warlow, United States National Archives
Hans-Dieter Kreikamp, Federal Archives, Berlin
Caroline Kimbell, The National Archives, UK
Anne Webber,
Commission for Looted Art in Europe, London
Kyrylo Vyslobokov,
Archival Information Systems, Kyiv
Representatives of the Archives of American Art, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Harvard Art Museums
Getty Research Institute
Frick Center for the History of Collecting in America
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich

Registration for this program is through a downloadable
registration form(Please note: there is no online registration available). 
Advance registration deadline is April 22.

Advance Registration:
$170 Members (AAM, AAMD, ICOM, National Archives)
$325 Non-members

Onsite Registration:
(please bring completed registration form with you to the event)
$220 Members (AAM, AAMD, ICOM, National Archives)
$375 Non-members

Further details of the seminar are on the AAM site here

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