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Q&A: World Monument Fund’s President

Bonnie Burnham, president of the World Monuments Fund, travels four months of the year, visiting -endangered and restored historic sites.

Photo: Denis Finnin/WMF

What WMF project are you most excited about these days?

We’ve helped organize an unprecedented exhibition of furniture and interiors from the 18th-century Qianlong Garden, in Beijing’s Forbidden City, which is being restored. The show, “The Emperor’s Private Paradise” (Sept. 14–Jan. 9; pem.org), at the Peabody Essex Museum, in Salem, Massachusetts, consists of 90 objects, including trompe l’oeil paintings and an elaborate throne, that have never been seen before and will never travel again.

How can one be a sensitive cultural traveler?

Be aware that tourism has reached a saturation point at most major cultural sites. Explore places nearby. For example, there are beautiful Baroque churches in the highlands of Peru and they’re an easy trip from Cuzco.

Any favorite hotels?

The Taj hotel group has converted Indian palaces into hotels. I love the Art Deco Umaid Bhawan Palace, in Jodhpur, the last of the great palaces of Rajasthan to be built.

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