About the Foundation

The Monuments Men Foundation honors the legacy of the men and women who served in the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section, known as the “Monuments Men,” and their unprecedented and heroic work protecting and safeguarding civilization’s most important artistic and cultural treasures from armed conflict during World War II. Raising public awareness is essential to the Foundation’s mission and its completion of the objectives listed below.

Objectives

HONORING THE HEROES:
The Foundation plans to honor all the heroes by completing biographies and obtaining photographs of all 350 or so men and women from thirteen nations and making that information public. The Foundation will also encourage those cultural and educational institutions impacted by the Monuments Men and women to honor their wartime service and professional legacy through some form of permanent on-site recognition. The Foundation is in a race against time working with members of the House of Representatives to honor the Monuments Men and women with the Congressional Gold Medal.

COMPLETING THEIR MISSION:
The Foundation will use heightened visibility about the Monuments Men to illuminate the path home for the hundreds of thousands of works of art, cultural objects, and documents still missing since World War II. Working with individuals who come forward with leads about missing cultural items—or the actual objects—will enable the Foundation to facilitate their return to the rightful owner.

PRESERVING THEIR LEGACY:
The Monuments Men Experience, which will soon be constructed at The National World War II Museum, will be a permanent testament to these heroes’ legacy. The Foundation has a lead role in the design of the exhibit and is responsible for gathering key artifacts that will be part of the display. Additionally, the Foundation is designing a traveling exhibition, which is an effective, economical way to reach national audiences. The Foundation is also creating a local community component for students of all ages.

REESTABLISHING THE STANDARD:
The Foundation will continue to play an active role encouraging institutions and individuals, in the United States and abroad, to know about the wartime whereabouts of objects in their collection in accord with the American Association of Museum’s guidelines concerning Nazi era provenance. But its ultimate objective is to urge the President of the United States to reaffirm the principles contained in General Eisenhower’s historic wartime directive concerning respect for the cultural property of others.

CHANGING OUR WORLD:
Protecting cultural treasures is a relentless challenge yet timeless obligation. The lessons of the Monuments Men during the world’s most destructive conflict serve as our modern day inspiration.

As part of its mission to honor the legacy of the Monuments Men themselves and, through their story, to enhance the appreciation of art and cultural heritage as an essential part of understanding humankind, the Foundation plans to initiate a grant competition with other leading cultural institutions to fund projects that educate the public about the importance of protecting civilization’s cultural treasures at all times. This program will benefit art historians, archeologists, educators, military leaders and officers, and well as students pursuing careers in the arts, in particular those specializing in provenance research. We believe that major American foundations will join with us and help fund these competitive grants, each in the range of $50,000-150,000, beginning in 2014-15.

In addition, the Foundation will bestow an annual Monuments Men Award, which will be awarded to individuals and institutions who best uphold the principles and ideals of the Monuments Men through their extraordinary contribution to the protection of civilization’s most important artistic and cultural treasures.