Just a few days ago, the J. Paul Getty Trust announced an ambitious project that the organization is embarking on, which they’re calling Ancient Worlds Now: A Future for the Past. The initiative will span a decade, work around the world, and dedicate $100 million to the better understanding of and legacy of cultural heritage sites around the globe.
Bringing together various disciplines, including research, conservation, pre- and post- graduate studies, and partnerships, Ancient Worlds Now will ‘explore the interwoven histories of the ancient worlds,’ says the Getty Trust. To accomplish the goals of the project, Ancient Worlds Now will work with others through partnerships in places like Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. In addition to these partnerships, the initiative will rely on cross-disciplinary work between the Getty Foundation, Getty Research Institute, Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Museum.
Irina Bokova, former director of UNESCO, praised Ancient World Now saying:
‘Getty’s initiative is critically important because, tragically, threats to the survival of the world’s cultural heritage through neglect, purposeful and collateral destruction, overdevelopment, and climate change are putting at risk the lessons and legacy of the past. Such threats will require global partnerships and the work of non-governmental, non-political organizations such as Getty to heighten understanding on a global scale of the importance of the world’s ancient cultures and common past.’
While the official launch of Ancient Worlds Now is not until next summer, the initiative is already underway planning for projects that will take us through to 2030. As part of Ancient Worlds Now, the following are some of the projects that are either already underway or soon to begin as part of the initiative: projects in Paphos and Abu Dhabi through the Getty Conservation Institute; digital Art History, research, and conservation training through the Getty Foundation; various exhibitions and planned conservation projects at the Getty Museum; Duc de Luynes Collections Acquisition, Lothar von Falkenhausen Library and Archive Acquisition, Pre-Hispanic Art Provenance Initiative, and the Florentine Codex Initiative as part of the Getty Research Institute; and works included in Getty Publications.
‘Cultural heritage embodies a global community united by a common need to make things of beauty and usefulness, and to compose stories and rituals about humanity’s place in the world,’ said president and CEO of the Getty Trust, James Cuno in a press release. ‘We will launch with urgency and build momentum for years to come. This work must start now, before more cultural heritage is neglected, damaged, or destroyed. Much is at stake.’