National Humanities Medal
In 2007, The Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art was named one of 10 recipients of the National Humanities Medal.
Mr. Edsel accepted the medal on behalf of the foundation and was accompanied by Monuments Men Seymore Pomrenze, James Reeds, Harry Ettlinger, and Horace Apgar, Jr. President George W. Bush stated during his introduction of the recipients, “We are forever indebted to the men and women who, in an era of total war, rescued and preserved a precious portion of the world’s heritage.”
The National Humanities Medal is the highest honor given for excellence in the Humanities field. Inaugurated in 1997, the award honors individuals and groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities. Medal recipients do not compete for this award but are specially selected by the President for their life-long achievements in their diverse areas of expertise.
Up to 12 medals can be awarded each year. The Monuments Men Foundation is one of only three Foundations to have ever been awarded this honor.
2007 National Humanities Award recipients:
Dr. Stephen H. Balch, scholar, Princeton, N.J.
Russell Freedman, author, New York, N.Y.
Victor Davis Hanson, military historian and author, Fresno, C.A.
Roger Hertog, philanthropist, New York, N.Y.
Cynthia Ozick, author, New Rochelle, N.Y.
Richard Pipes, author and historian, Cambridge, M.A.
Pauline L. Schultz, curator and author, Hixson, T.N.
Henry Leonard Snyder, scholar, Kensington, C.A.
Ruth R. Wisse, scholar, Cambridge, M.A.
This is an extraordinary honor for the Monuments Men Foundation. It underscores the importance of our work to recognize the contribution and preserve the legacy of these remarkable men and women who saved so much of our cultural heritage during World War II.
Robert Edsel, Founder and Chairman of the Monuments Men Foundation
Congressional Gold Medal
On Thursday, October 22, 2015, the United States Congress presented the Monuments Men and Women, of all 14 nations, with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the United States.
George Washington received the first medal. The rigorous review and approval process required two-thirds consent of both houses of Congress. The Monuments Men Foundation spent nine years to ensure that these heroes of civilization received this great award. Following President Obama’s signature marking formal passage of this bill in June 2014, the Foundation worked with officials from the U.S. Mint and their team of artists on the design of the gold medal.
The Speaker of the House, Congressman John Boehner, served as the Master of Ceremony that took place at the Capitol. Other speakers included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader Senator Harry Reid; Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Monuments Man Harry Ettlinger, and Robert M. Edsel, Founder and Chairman of the Foundation.
Many members of Congress attended along with the Ambassadors or Chargé d’Affaires of all 14 nations that were represented. Four of the six, then-living Monuments Men and Women, were able to attend, along with more than 200 family members of past Monuments Men attended, coming from some 11 different nations.
Bronze duplicates of the medal are available for purchase in two sizes through the United States Mint.