Today is the International Day for Monuments and Sites, also known as World Heritage Day. Created as a way to celebrate diversity and cultural heritage around the world, Preservation Maryland and The Campaign for Historic Trades are celebrating the value of history in our lives and our work to preserve and protect sites across the country.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared 1964 as the International Year of the Monument. UNESCO hoped that by labeling 1964 with that title, it would bring more attention to monuments, buildings, and historic sites all over the world. UNESCO recognized that monuments display important moments from our history; by learning more about the past, one can better understand the current society in which they live. 1964 also saw the creation of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMAS). On April 18, 1982, ICOMAS proposed a holiday for the International Day for Monuments and Sites. The date was approved by the General Assembly of UNESCO in 1983.
Each year, ICOMAS establishes a theme for the date. Last year, in 2021, the theme was “Complex Pasts: Diverse Futures.” The theme for 2022 is “Heritage and Climate.” ICOMAS hopes to foster discussions on climate justice and equity. According to its website, the goal is to “showcase strategies to promote the full potential of heritage conservation research and practice to deliver climate-resilient pathways to strengthen sustainable development, while advocating for just transitions to low-carbon futures.”
The Campaign for Historic Trades works with partners at NPS to recruit for the Traditional Trades Advancement Program (TTAP) program, which provides hands-on, historic preservation trade skills training during an intensive twenty-week learning-while-working experience. Trainees receive project-based opportunities to learn carpentry, woodcrafting, finishing, masonry, metalworking, and window restoration while working, learning, and earning alongside professional NPS staff. TTAP members work on monuments and historic sites across the country, including Arlington National Cemetery, pictured here.