• Nyamata Church. Photo by Randall Mason.

  • Interior of the Nyamata Church. Photo by Randall Mason.

  • Umuvumu Tree, planted with the construction of each new house. Photo by Randall Mason.

Rwanda Genocide Memorial Conservation & Training

Conservation of Rwanda’s national genocide memorials grows with urgency each passing year.  Deterioration of buildings, sites, and artifacts threaten the ability of Rwandans to mourn, commemorate and interpret the deeply meaningful and troubling events surrounding the 1994 genocide. This project directly addresses the conservation of Rwandan national genocide memorials through a combined program of training Rwandan professionals and carrying out conservation directly at the memorial sites. The project is designed to increase the capacity of Rwandan institutions and professionals to conserve and manage significant genocide sites across the country. And it will result in conservation measures carried out at Nyamata Church in the Bugesera region, the site of tragic genocide violence in which thousands of Tutsi were massacred.

The project is supported by Rwanda’s National Commission for The Fight Against Genocide (CNLG) via funding from the US State Department/Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP), and through the New York-based NGO Big Future Group

PennPraxis’ project consists of a series of training and conservation measures, organized around one reconnaissance/documentation campaign and three fieldwork campaigns in which teaching and direct conservation measures will be integrated.  Implementation of additional conservation measures will be sustained between the training workshops.  The final products will include a cadre of Rwandan professionals and craft workers trained in appropriate conservation methods, conservation measures (including some direct repairs) implemented at Nyamata Church memorial (one of the six, national-level memorial sites), and a series of guidelines, materials and cases to support ongoing conservation planning/work and sustain the impact of the training. 

The project team is led by PennPraxis Executive Director Randy Mason and includes Michael Henry, an architect-engineer and PennDesign Adjunct Professor specializing in building conservation and museum environments, and Julia Brennan, a textile conservator based in Washington, DC.


Kaitlyn Levesque, Research Associate, Lecturer