Training in Provenance Research

The Claims Conference encourages and assists efforts to train current and future experts worldwide in provenance research (documenting the ownership history of an object from inception to the present day) and related issues concerning Nazi-looted art, Judaica, and other cultural property.

Before the current decade there was a near-absence of training programs to develop and refine critical research and analytical skills in the emerging discipline of provenance research. Ever since the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets in 1998, there had been numerous calls to promote such programs, but to no avail. The Prague Conference on Holocaust Era Assets Conference in 2009 reaffirmed the crying need for such a program, preferably one that would reflect the international nature of provenance research and that would lead to a worldwide community of specialists in this area.

Accordingly the Claims Conference helped create, administer, and fund the Provenance Research Training Program (PRTP) under the auspices of the European Shoah Legacy Institute (ESLI).. Five sessions were held from 2012 to the end of 2014,  in Magdeburg, Germany; Zagreb, Croatia; Vilnius, Lithuania; Athens, Greece; and Rome, Italy with the cooperation of the respective governments.  Over 180 participants received training from over 30 experts from 13 different countries who gave lectures and presentations.

Information on the ESLI Provenance Research Training Program, including reports on the past workshops, is at http://provenanceresearch.org/

At present the Claims Conference-WJRO, along with the Commission for Art Recovery, is working with the International Council of Museums (ICOM) towards the creation of an International Association of Provenance Researchers.  This International Association would set standards and guidelines and be responsible for education and training in the field.