In June 1996 the St. Petersburg International Center for Preservation hosted its first annual White Nights Delegation, organized by the GCI and the Fondazione Memmo, an Italian foundation with an international art program. Made up of private individuals interested in supporting conservation in St. Petersburg, the seven-day study tour featured behind-the-scenes visits to the city's major cultural institutions for an in-depth look at their conservation needs. Led by Esther Coopersmith, the Center's founding chairperson and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the tour included delegates from Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Manila, Beijing, Reykjavik, Amsterdam, and Rome. The White Nights Delegation is an annual event scheduled around the summer solstice, St. Petersburg's most beautiful season. It is designed to promote public awareness of the need to conserve cultural heritage, and to solicit support for the Center's conservation programs.
The St. Petersburg International Center for Preservation was established in 1994 by the GCI, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the city of St. Petersburg. It is registered as a noncommercial partnership in Russia and incorporated as a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization in the United States.