The United States Committee of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS), in partnership with the GCI and the San Antonio Conservation Society, organized the Inter-American Symposium on Authenticity in the Conservation and Management of the Cultural Heritage, held in San Antonio, Texas, March 27–30, 1996. The meeting—attended by 135 people, including the chairmen and representatives of 16 national ICOMOS committees from the Americas—discussed the meaning of authenticity in preservation in the context of this hemisphere, as well as its implications for the management of cultural heritage.
This is one of several ICOMOS regional meetings being held around the world in preparation for the October 1996 ICOMOS General Assembly in Sofia, Bulgaria, where the issue of authenticity in preservation will again be addressed. (The European ICOMOS symposium took place in the Czech Republic and the African meeting in Zimbabwe.)
Authenticity is the foundation upon which all preservation work is built. In recent years the concepts of authenticity and value have been increasingly subject to examination and debate. The San Antonio meeting addressed the issue from the perspectives of archaeological resources, architecture and urbanism, and cultural landscapes. Recommendations developed by symposium participants formed the "Declaration of San Antonio," which the ICOMOS National Committees of the Americas will take to the world forum in Sofia.
Margaret Mac Lean of the GCI chaired the Scientific Committee for the symposium, which was responsible for designing the program, identifying the speakers, writing the United States position paper, and managing the meeting. The Scientific Committee was composed of Michael Taylor, Deputy Director for New Mexico State Monuments, Museum of New Mexico; Carol Shull, Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places of the National Park Service (NPS); Randolph Langenbach of the Federal Emergency Management Agency; Gustavo Araoz, Executive Director of US/ICOMOS; and Nora Mitchell, Director of the Olmstead Center for Landscape Preservation, NPS.
The Getty was represented by Marta de la Torre and Erica Avrami of the GCI and by Tim Whalen and Joan Weinstein of the Getty Grant Program.