The Historical Record of Cultural Heritage

5 April, 2016 Rome, Italy

How swiftly the things that define us as a human society can be swept away.

I am an individual with very substantial emotions about material culture. I have stood before a work of seemingly insignificant art and wept, have gotten weak in the knees at the façade of some eminent building and have spent days researching, viewing and applying thought to a single hand on a single piece of sculpture. I am an inquisitive, at times compulsive consumer of culture.

I often walk under arches and upon stones imagining the stories those spaces could tell, the people who touched upon them, the lives who perished under their watch. History is real, history happened. History is not a television show nor is it a fabricated tale (ok, some of the time it truly is).

How do we know these things? Material culture – the physical remnants left behind. What would we know about the ancient Romans without Livy’s prose? What would we know about religious conflict and dedication without the monuments resting upon the Temple Mount? How would we ever know about the theological ideas in the Middle East without Rumi?

Cultural heritage is not only essential to the human condition, it is, and always has been, imperative for our development as a species.

The remaining material culture of centuries past tell an intricate, allegorical chronicle of human society – of our ability to adapt, thrive and perish yet live on within the architecture erected, artwork created or words penned.

We must not remain motionless at the “damnatio memoriae” of their existence.

I am inclined to fight on their behalf, to offer financial assistance where needed and open my mouth when the world wants it shut. We have a lot of groups fighting for humanity (as they should) yet less fighting for our world heritage.

While everyone insists on visiting Italy at least once in their life, they seldom contribute any effort in its preservation. I’ve spoken many times before on its antiquity, and as with all nearly expired things, the past needs our care and assistance.

There is no greater threat to our global culture than to remain complacent to the destruction of such integral elements of our being. If you feel so inclined, please visit any of the following, which I, as Thesis Travel support:

World Monuments Fund

Save Venice

Heritage for Peace (Syria)


Cultural Heritage Without Borders

A direct, less monetary contribution can be made by visiting your local museum, engaging with the collection, considering it, its importance, its significance, over a few short hours. This will not only expand your worldview but give direct funds to your local community.

And with this, I close in asking you to mobilize yourself. To become a voice for the voiceless.

Travel Well,
LeAnne J. Smith

NB. I have always made it a practice to reduce my fee to an amount my clients contributes to an organization aligned to preserve cultural heritage (globally, not just in Italy). Cultural heritage is so important to me, I often work pro-bono to ensure their legacy due to the generous donations of my clients. Any donation you make to an organization promoting cultural heritage will be applied at 50% of your donation cost to your fees with Thesis Travel. (ie. Your donation of $500 will give you a $250 credit at Thesis).

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