The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) is training military officers in an effort to protect cultural heritage in conflict zones, with a particular focus on the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. The program, similar to the work of the World War II "Monuments Men," was revived by the Army three years ago and involves deploying officers with arts training to save imperiled artworks. The reserve unit, 353rd Civil Affairs Command, recently visited the Met for a workshop led by art experts. During the workshop, the officers learned about the significance of art and the importance of documenting evidence of crimes against cultural heritage. The Met has been researching and reclassifying artworks and artists that were mislabeled as Russian but are actually Ukrainian. This effort aims to counter Russia's attempts to erase Ukrainian identity by targeting the country's cultural heritage. The Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative and the Met have collaborated with the Army to provide expertise and help soldiers understand the role of art in the conflict. The program includes training in forensic documentation, emergency preparedness, and conservation techniques. The partnership also focuses on strengthening efforts to track and evaluate endangered world heritage sites. While the Met's efforts to reclassify Ukrainian art have received support, there has also been mixed public response, including criticism and threats of violence. However, the museum remains committed to its research and reclassification work, recognizing the evolving scholarly thinking and the increased attention to Ukrainian culture and history since the Russian invasion.

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