Immediately following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Smithsonian Institution (SI) publicly affirmed its support for the Ukrainian people, their freedom and democracy, and their cultural heritage, all of which were explicitly threatened by targeted Russian military action. In the same spirit as Smithsonian’s Strategic Plan, Our Shared Future, the Smithsonian’s 14th Secretary, Lonnie Bunch, reminded audiences: “When we lose irreplaceable history and culture, it is a profound loss to us all. If we instead work together to celebrate, share, and protect cultural heritage, we are ensuring the triumph of our humanity.”

Quickly, the Smithsonian began that work to “celebrate, share and protect” Ukraine’s heritage in myriad ways. The Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI) rapidly activated its network of cultural rescue experts and supported the coordination of urgent supply deliveries to museums on the ground. The Office of International Relations (OIR) organized the hosting of displaced Ukrainian Fulbright scholars in the US to complete their practical training as interns and fellows at SI units. Curators, collections managers, and educators across SI shared objects and stories that highlight the rich mosaic of Ukrainian cultural identity and history. With these efforts, may audiences feel some hope as we look to the future.

These efforts are ongoing, and this Ukraine Hub provides a platform to bring together resources, stories,  and collections to highlight the Smithsonian’s commitment to supporting the Ukrainian people in their efforts to sustain and share their rich culture heritage and history. Please visit this Hub regularly, as it will evolve along with our partnerships and programs. The Smithsonian remains dedicated to continuing its efforts to provide partnership, support, and hope to the people of Ukraine.

Molly Fannon is Director of the Smithsonian’s Office of International Relations and Global Programs. As the Institution’s lead representative for all international programs, her portfolio spans the entire Institution, from biodiversity conservation, to climate change research, to cultural heritage preservation and recovery, to cultural tourism and education. Ms. Fannon leads the Smithsonian’s museum advisory and training programs. Ms. Fannon regularly speaks on behalf of the Smithsonian, with recent keynote addresses and major speeches to organizations such as the World Customs Organization, UNESCO, USAID, and more.

Prior to assuming this role, Ms. Fannon led global engagement programs at the Smithsonian focused on building the capacity of emerging cultural sectors in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Ms. Fannon came to the Smithsonian with a background in the private sector, working on large-scale international economic development programs, funded by institutions such as USAID, the World Bank, the InterAmerican Bank, and the MCC. For Booz Allen Hamilton, she led global business development, helping the global consulting company break into new areas of work and new client bases in developing economies. For Chemonics International, Ms. Fannon led business and program development for the Latin America and Caribbean region.

Ms. Fannon’s academic work focused on the role of the cultural sector in economic development and nation building. In that vein, she served as a strategic advisor in Mozambique regarding cultural tourism development at Ilha de Mozambique, a UNESCO world heritage site. As a Fulbright Scholar in Argentina, Ms. Fannon worked with the municipal government to define cultural tourism and historic preservation strategies for Buenos Aires’ historic public cemeteries.

Ms. Fannon’s professional experience spans more than 30 countries on 6 continents. She is fluent in both spoken and written Spanish and proficient in Portuguese. Most importantly, she is the mother of three young and happy daughters.