News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Getty Trust Initiative Will Work To Save Ancient Sites Worldwide


The J. Paul Getty Trust has announced it is investing $100 million over the next decade to help preserve and promote cultural history and heritage sites around the world. NPR's Mandalit Del Barco has the story from here in LA.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: James Cuno, the president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, says the new initiative is an attempt to save what remains of ancient sites around the world.

JAMES CUNO: Not going to be easy.

DEL BARCO: That's because there are so many threats, he says, including direct assaults by both military and terrorist groups.

CUNO: You see that with ISIS in Iraq at the museum in Mosul where there's considerable destruction but also with the Assyrian remains along the Euphrates. And in Iraq, you see that with ISIS trained terrorists who attacked churches in Sri Lanka. And you see it in Mali where the Sufi shrines that were attacked and destroyed. You see it in Afghanistan with the Bamiyan Buddhas that were attacked and destroyed.

DEL BARCO: Ancient sites, he says, are also at risk of decay or destruction from climate change and overdevelopment.

CUNO: And then there's just benign neglect.

DEL BARCO: Saving world sites is an ambitious goal for any institution. This is one whose museum has long emphasized Greek and Roman antiquities. The idea is to take the expertise of the Getty Museum and its research and conservation institutes and partner with local scholars, NGOs, cultural organizations and even governments around the world. They plan to begin next summer and continue for at least a decade. It's expanding on the work that Getty has already been doing for years.


MOSTAFA WAZIRI: King Tut, the golden boy.

DEL BARCO: To help preserve the tomb of King Tutankhamun, Getty researchers worked with Egyptian conservators. Here's Dr. Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, in a video about the project.


WAZIRI: Conservation and preservation is important for the future, for this heritage and this great civilization to live forever.

DEL BARCO: The Getty has also been working in Turkey, Southeast Asia and Cyprus. Now it's hoping to turn to monuments in the rest of the world. Mandalit del Barco, NPR News.


As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition,, and