Getty Foundation Donates $1.3 Million to Preserve of Wupatki National Monument

September 25th, 2021

The Getty Foundation has awarded a $1.3 million grant to the University of Pennsylvania’s Stuart Weitzman School of Design that will fund a new conservation and management plan for northern Arizona’s Wupatki National Monument. The monument is one of three in the area—the others being Walnut Crater and Sunset Canyon Volcano—noted for their well-maintained archaeological records as well as for their geographic diversity and significance to the northern Arizona Indigenous community, which includes Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Navajo, Yavapai, and Zuni, peoples. The Wupatki National Monument comprises the remains of a village dating to the eleventh century, and includes the ruins of a sprawling Moenkopi sandstone pueblo that once housed more than one hundred people at a time.

The connection to UPenn comes via the university’s Center for Architectural Conservation, a partner of the National Park Service, which oversees the monuments. The grant money will fund development of a stewardship plan informed by Indigenous practices and focused on sustainability as both physically and culturally necessary. The monument has suffered increasing damage as a result of accelerated climate change; seismic instability, debris slides, and flooding also pose risks.

“Getty has championed best practices in archaeological site preservation for decades,” Getty Foundation director Joan Weinstein said. “With climate change now impacting so many treasured sites throughout the Southwest, the project at Wupatki National Monument promises to make a major contribution to their protection, enriched by the participation of affiliated tribal communities.”

As part of its conservation program, the team from UPenn will work collaboratively with local Native communities. With Conservation Legacy’s Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps, it will provide for Native youth a summer program including fieldwork, job shadowing, and mentoring by cultural resources advisors from Northern Arizona Tribes; a summer internship program for Native degree-seeking students will be offered through Northern Arizona University.