The Monuments Men remained in Europe for up to six years after 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 music concerts. Art and culture mattered greatly then – and 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.
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.
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.
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.