Preservation of Art and Navy Planes in Lake Michigan

Host Jim Fausone

This Week’s Program

This week’s one hour radio broadcast begins as host Jim Fausone presents an interview with Corine Wegner, Director of the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative.

In the second half of the program Jim talks with Taras Lyssenko who has worked for 30+ years to recover World War II Navy planes from Lake Michigan that were lost during training.

Art Preservation In Active Military Zones 

Corine Wegner is the director of the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI), an outreach program dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage in crisis situations in the U.S. and abroad. She served for 22 years in  Army Reserves Civil Affairs and is a leading expert on cultural heritage in war zones and natural disaster areas. Before her arrival to the Smithsonian, Wegener was an associate curator in the department of Decorative Arts, Textiles, and Sculpture at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. 

In her concurrent career as a US Army Reserve officer, she served on several military deployments, including as an Arts, Monuments, and Archives Officer assigned to assist after the 2003 looting of the Iraq National Museum.

Now retired from the Army Reserve, she continues to serve on the board of the Civil Affairs Association and organizes regular military cultural heritage awareness events at Smithsonian.

In 2006, Corine founded the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, part of an international organization dedicated to raising awareness of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the event of armed conflict. Her efforts led to the U.S. ratification of this important treaty in 2009.   The Smithsonian and the Army signed a Memorandum of  Understanding to have the Smithsonian train Army officers and she discusses this work with host Jim Fausone. 

The Great Navy Birds of Lake Michigan

Great Navy BIrds of Lake Michigan Taras LyssenkoTaras Lyssenko has written a new book that contains everything from mystery and adventure to government dealings and World War II history. The book documents his company’s three decades-long effort to recover World War II-era Navy planes from Lake Michigan. 

“The Great Navy Birds of Lake Michigan”  introduces people to the long-lost history of how U.S. Navy pilots trained and sometimes lost their lives and their planes over Lake Michigan. It also gives people an inside look at his company’s recovery and salvage efforts as well as their sometimes-contentious relationship with federal agencies.

These submerged Navy planes now find themselves in museums and public spaces around the United States.  Taras talks with host Jim Fausone of to explain how this passion started for two Army guys and how it keeps history alive. 

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