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Monuments Men and Artworks in World War II

In 1943, the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program (MFAA) was established under the Civil Affairs and Military Government sections of the Allied armies as part of a concerted effort to protect artworks, archives, and monuments of historical and cultural significance as the Allies advanced across Europe.

Representing thirteen nations, 345 men and women volunteered for service in this group, which was known as the "monuments men." Among their ranks were museum curators and art historians, as well as others with specialized training or professional expertise that enabled them to identify and care for works of art subject to forced relocation or harm under the difficult wartime conditions.

With limited resources and authority, the monuments men were ultimately able to track, locate, and return more than five million looted cultural items.

Monuments Men Foundation

The Monuments Men Foundation

Honoring the unprecedented and heroic work of the monuments men who protected and safeguarded civilization's most important artistic and cultural treasures during World War II.

Meet the Monuments Men

See a roster of the 345 men and women from fourteen nations who served as monuments men, including James Rorimer, Ted Rousseau, and Edith Standen, who were affiliated with the Met.

Monuments Men at The Met

The Met's Monuments Men

Read the richly informative press release for a 2014 event at The Met that focused on the monuments men and their lasting impact on the Museum.

In the Footsteps of the Monuments Men: Traces from the Archives

In this Now at The Met blog post, Met archivists Melissa Bowling and James Moske discuss the wartime and post-war career of monuments man and former Met director James J. Rorimer.

Eisenhower at The Met

This blog post presents archival digital audio from 1946, when The Met awarded an honorary fellowship for life to then-General Eisenhower for his effort to save art treasures overseas. 

Monuments Men Itinerary

In 2014 The Met published a guide to help visitors find selected works in the Museum's collection that had been saved by the Monuments Men.

Monuments Men at Other Museums

The Monuments Men at the National Gallery of Art

A 2014 exhibition describes the role the National Gallery of Art played in the creation of the MFAA and explores the real-life experiences of a few of the monuments men.

Monuments Men at the Archives of American Art | Smithsonian

A digital feature presenting the archival materials from a 2014 exhibition at the Smithsonian.

Monuments Women

Ardelia Hall

Read about Hall's remarkable journey from curatorial researcher at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to adviser on international art restitution.

Edith Standen

One of the world's foremost authorities on European tapestries, Edith Standen served in World War II before returning to the US to become a curator in the textiles department at The Met.

Rose Valland

Rose Valland eavesdropped on German conversations and secretly kept meticulous notes on the destinations of train car shipments filled with looted art.