Major (Ret.) Corine Wegener founded USCBS in 2006, in response to the looting of the National Museum of Iraq.
The name “Blue Shield” comes from the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which specifies that a blue shield be the emblem for signifying protected cultural property. USCBS is one of over thirty national committees that are part of Blue Shield International (BSI).
The United States Committee of the Blue Shield (USCBS) is a charitable, non-governmental organization committed to the protection of cultural property worldwide during armed conflict and natural disaster. USCBS strives to protect movable and immovable tangible heritage, including museums, archives, libraries, monuments, and heritage sites, by providing awareness programs, advocating for implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention, and facilitating training for the armed forces, government agencies, heritage organizations, and the general public.
Goals & Accomplishments
The United States Committee of the Blue Shield promotes U.S. legal protections for and commitments to cultural property, consistent with the 1954 Hague Convention and other legal mechanisms. USCBS participated in efforts for the U.S. to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention, which was done in 2009. We continue to work on other legislative initiatives to further the protection of cultural property both domestically and internationally.
Coordinate with the U.S. military, U.S. government, and cultural heritage organizations to protect cultural property worldwide during armed conflict. Under the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act, USCBS was named as a consultative body to the Cultural Heritage Coordinating Committee, which operates under the direction of the U.S. Department of State. USCBS has assisted in the drafting of the U.S. compliance documents to UNESCO, which serves as the Secretariat for the 1954 Hague Convention.
Dr. Lauriea Rush, Secretary USCBS with Colonel Kendall Clarke, Commander of the 10th Mountain Division 3rd Brigade. Dr. Rush is role playing a concerned Minister of Culture. Image courtesy of Dr. Laurie Rush.
Raise public awareness about the importance of cultural property as the shared heritage of all humankind. USCBS and its Board members participate in conferences, symposia, and other events throughout the world. We hold an annual meeting that is open to the public and participated in the American Red Cross essay and artwork competition for high school and college students on cultural property protection in 2022.
USCBS Playing Cards to promote the protection of cultural property
Support training and resources for U.S. armed forces in cultural property protection. In response to the looting of the National Museum of Iraq and damage to the iconic archaeological site of Babylon during the Second Gulf War in 2003, the USCBS partnered with many cultural and educational institutions to deliver lectures to military personnel at bases across the U.S. The USCBS also supported efforts of the Military Cultural Heritage Action Group (MilCHAG), which brought together networks of military personnel, defense intelligence experts, archaeologists, and museum professionals. Currently, military education and training in cultural property protection occur during formal courses for military officers, pre-deployment briefings, ongoing key leader engagements on cultural property protection, integration of cultural property protection challenges in NATO and military field exercises. The Smithsonian has also established a formal partnership with the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) (USACAPOC(A)) for training and support of Civil Affairs Heritage and Preservation Officers.
The Fort Drum archaeology field team meets with then Colonel Scott Nauman, as they discuss sites to be protected in the fictitious country of Atropia. Image courtesy of Dr. Laurie Rush.