After two weeks in Haiti searching for cultural treasures lost in the January earthquake, the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Shockey is back stateside. Shockey traveled with a group of conservators and documented the trip in Facebook notes and Flickr photos, which can be found online by visiting the museum's blog,

How much earthquake damage remains in Haiti?

There's still a lot of damage. The tear-down progress is fairly slow. ... In terms of the artwork that we found, it ranges from broken sculptures to twisted and contorted metal to paintings that are completely torn. ... You see lots and lots of people in tent camps.

What artifacts did you bring back to the Smithsonian to restore?

I didn't bring anything back. The idea was to take things there. ... The whole idea of [the new conservation center in Port-au-Prince] is to have a place where conservators from the U.S. can come work on Haitian cultural material. It's also a place where there's going to be training for Haitians.

How much of the artwork has been lost forever?

That's difficult for me to say. ... "Lost forever" is sort of a cataclysmic term. We like to think that, particularly with the damage done in earthquakes, a lot is recoverable, unlike what you have with flooding or hurricane damage.

Why is it so important to restore Haiti's art?

Culture, like anything, is a manifestation of people, their belief. Whenever you've had something that's as catastrophic as an earthquake, a flood or a hurricane, you're so traumatized. Having culture and art and things that you identify as being a part of yourself is a focal point for everyone to rally around. So when everything seems lost, you realize that there are the unifying aspects of culture that are still there.

- Liz Essley