Stemming the Tide Symposium

Global Strategies for Sustaining Cultural Heritage Through Climate Change

Thursday, March 5, 2020–Friday, March 6, 2020


Media - 2011.36A-D - SAAM-2011.36A-D_1 - 77692

Alexis Rockman, Manifest Destiny2004, oil and acrylic on wood

Climate change has become one of the most significant and fastest growing threats to people and their cultural heritage around the globe. Yet cultural heritage sites and collections can also serve as an invaluable source of resilience for communities to address climate change.

Join the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Smithsonian’s National Collections Program for a series of presentations and discussions that explore the intersection of cultural heritage and climate change. This two-day conversation will examine the impact of climate change on cultural heritage and communities worldwide, discuss the responsibilities of stewards of cultural heritage in fostering collaborative solutions, address urgent questions of equity and inclusion, and identify strategies that leverage cultural heritage for climate action.

A full-day symposium on Thursday, March 5 in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s McEvoy Auditorium will highlight innovative climate stories and strategies in cultural heritage. A second day of dynamic breakout sessions on Friday, March 6 will be held at six Smithsonian museums and archives, locations to be announced. Speakers and discussion topics will explore six categories of cultural heritage identified by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS):

  • Museums and Collections
  • Archaeological Sites
  • Built Heritage (Buildings and Structures)
  • Cultural Landscapes and Historic Urban Landscapes
  • Cultural Communities
  • Intangible Cultural Heritage

The objective of this symposium is to empower cultural heritage authorities, managers, and advocates to pursue more ambitious engagement and collaborative approaches with climate change matters.

This symposium is presented as part of the Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism initiative.

Registration is required, and there is a fee of $75. 

Questions?  Please email and specify STEMMING THE TIDE in the subject line.


Stemming the Tide: Global Strategies for Sustaining Cultural Heritage Through Climate Change is made possible with support from the Smithsonian's National Collections Program, and the Provost’s One Smithsonian Symposia award.

A logo with a yellow sunburst and green around it with "Smithsonian Institution"
AIC logo in black and white
The Smithsonian American Art Museum logo in blue.
The ICOMOS logo in black
Earth Optimism's logo.
IIC logo in blue