International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property
APOYOnline - 30 years for the…

APOYOnline - 30 years for the preservation of cultural heritage in the Americas

APOYOnline – Association for Heritage Preservation of the Americas

30 years building bridges and creating pathways for the preservation of cultural heritage in the Americas


APOYOnline (former APOYO) was founded in 1989 with the aim to build multilingual bridges of communication throughout the American continent so all professionals dedicated to cultural heritage preservation could connect and receive training and updated technical information in Spanish and Portuguese. Today, 30 years later, over 4,200 professionals across Latin America, the Caribbean and other Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries are connected and close to 1,000 professionals from 27 countries have received specialized training through multi-lingual events organized by APOYOnline.

A grassroot organization managed solely by volunteers, APOYOnline has forged collaborations, partnerships and bilateral agreements with many national and international organizations over the years. Since 2015, we have also expanded fundraising activities forming a strong network of supporters. As a result, we have translated key technical publications and reference material into Spanish and Portuguese, provided multilingual workshops in topics ranging from emergency preparedness and response to preservation on a budget, organized regional and international conference in the American continent and offered hundreds of professional development scholarships.

APOYOnline 30th Anniversary Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

To celebrate our 30th Anniversary we organized the “APOYOnline 30th Anniversary Conference and Workshop on Photographic Conservation,” which took place in September 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, co-organized with the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) and Casa de Rui Barbosa, and in collaboration with the University of Delaware. Over 220 delegates from Latin America, United States, Canada, Portugal, and Spain, including 16 panellists around the world shared their experiences in networking and communication; digitization and digital preservation; professional development and education in preservation; and preventive conservation and risk management (Conference Program and an Abstract Book available online).  These topics were addressed as well in the presentations of 32 speakers and 53 posters from 17 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay, United States of America and Venezuela.

One especial moment was the video interview between Gaël de Guichen, Special Advisor to the Director General, ICCROM and Jose Luiz Pedersoli, Program Manager, Conservation of Collections, ICCROM with an enlightening conversation about preventive conservation: past and future.
Of special note was a moving presentation by Alexander Kellner, Director of the National Museum of Brazil, focusing on the rescue and recovery of the collection devastated by fire one year ago and what is being done now to keep the Museum alive.

Led by Debbie Hess Norris (University of Delaware), the two-day Workshop on Photographic Conservation for 60 participants addressed materials from the salted paper to the digital print, engaging, Nora Kennedy (Metropolitan Museum of Art), Sarah Freeman and Ronel Namde (J.Paul Getty Museum), Amber Kehoe (The Harry Ransom Center) in lectures and hands-on sessions, including a disaster response exercise.

Through the generosity of over 25 corporate and private sponsors, APOYOnline was able to give partial stipends to over 190 participants. Over 35% of the audience of the conference and workshop were students from various undergraduate, graduate and PhD programs in Latin America and Portugal. This contributed to a very stimulating debate throughout the week triggered by a highly enthusiastic student community. This gives APOYOnline enormous pride as we are contributing for the development of the future generation of professionals in preservation of cultural heritage, our future colleagues.

A final workshop session led by APOYOnline addressed next steps to strengthen educational opportunities across the American continent and opportunities to build stronger and sustainable partnerships.


Manos a la Obra initiative

In 2018 we launched “Manos a la obra” (“Helping Hands”), a community-focused volunteer-based initiative created to give back to the local communities hosting APOYOnline conferences. In 2018, participants of the conference carried out collections care activities at the Archivo Histórico Municipal de la Ciudad de La Antigua, in Guatemala. The 2019 Manos a la obra was carried out at the Public Archive of the State of Rio de Janeiro (APERJ) during the 30th Anniversary Conference.
We plan to continue this initiative at future events

Donation Campaigns and Scholarship Funds

Over the years, APOYOnline has led special initiatives to support Latin American and Caribbean institutions in need. After the 2017 hurricane season battered the Caribbean, we surveyed the immediate needs of the region and conducted two Supply Donation Campaigns. We distributed supplies in person, donated by generous businesses and individuals to 22 Cuban institutions.

In 2019, APOYOnline launched the Toby Raphael Memorial Fund, which aims at supporting capacity-building collections care and preventive conservation activities in Latin America. Also in this year, the José Orraca Memorial Fund was created to support professional development activities in the conservation of photographs among Latin American professionals.

Our work ahead: APOYOnline’s future activities in the Americas


APOYOnline will continue to work on technical translations – some already on the way for 2020 - expand professional development activities and build further partnerships to connect people and provide access to preservation information and training to all regions in the region.

The dream to build bridges in the Americas has become reality and this has been possible only due to the dedicated work of many volunteers over 30 years, for which we are very grateful. We want to invite our colleagues in the preservation field worldwide to support our mission and follow our activities on our webpage (available in English, Spanish and Portuguese) and on our Facebook page. Find us on social media @apoyonline!

Led by Beatriz Haspo and Amparo Rueda, the APOYOnline team, distributed in 5 countries, vows to continue embracing the challenges ahead in leading initiatives to support professional development and exchange in the region. We count on your support to our mission to continue building bridges and pathways for preservation in the Americas for at least another 30 years!


  • Beatriz Haspo (Executive Director, volunteer)
  • Amparo Rueda (Founder and Vice-President)


  • Ingrid Frederick (Communication)
  • Leah Bright (Special Projects)

APOYOnline – Association for Heritage Preservation of the Americas