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Museum Europe

Negotiating Heritage

Sharon Macdonald

This article is concerned with some of the implications of the fact that Europe is so widely seen as a place replete with heritage, museums and memory, and also with the continuing expansion in numbers and types of heritage, museums and memory. It seeks to explore some of the ways in which heritage, in particular, is understood (including what it calls 'sticky heritage'), and especially the cultural and social work that it is often seen as able to do. To this end, the article reviews a number of trends in heritage developments, especially the diversification of what it calls 'Museum Europe' (e.g. in the establishment of museums or exhibitions about migration) and the kinds of citizenship that this mobilises. Some of the dilemmas as well as capacities of these developments are discussed. At the same time, the article reviews some of the directions in heritage research and the implications of this, and of 'Museum Europe' itself, for anthropology, ethnology and related disciplines.

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From Global to Local Heritage

Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Role of the Museum

Janet Blake

Heritage has a dual character whereby it can, at the same time, be celebrated for its outstanding universal value while having a special meaning and value for local and, in particular, bearer communities. Basing protection on the former notion of heritage as a universal, global value has been the dominant approach in international law-making since the second half of the twentieth century. More recently, the significance of heritage to local actors has become much better understood and recognised. The tensions associated with this duality have in recent times become evident with the adoption by UNESCO in 2003 of the International Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. In this treaty, international cultural heritage law-making has shifted from a paradigm that gives value predominantly to the material heritage – monuments, sites, artefacts and other objects – to one that celebrates a living heritage that is primarily located in the skills, knowledge and know-how of contemporary human beings. This article examines the aforementioned shift from an emphasis on global to local heritage and the role museums can play in this with regard to safeguarding intangible aspects of heritage.

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Assessing Museums Online

The Digital Heritage Sustainability (DHS) Framework

Ana Luisa Sánchez Laws

Digital materials, the primary resources for the production of contemporary culture, have brought many challenges to the heritage sector in relation to their curation, conservation, and dissemination. Digital heritage sustainability involves practices that help ensure the maintenance, enrichment, and enjoyment of digital heritage resources over periods of time that span across generations. The digital heritage sustainability (DHS) framework presented in this article provides an analytic basis for understanding the challenges associated with the use of digital materials in museums and for assessing how digital heritage resources can be sustained over time. As an example of use, the framework is applied to the Museum of London's digital resources.

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Heritage (Erfgoed) in the Dutch Press

A History of Changing Meanings in an International Context

Hanneke Ronnes and Tamara van Kessel

Since the 1990s, the Dutch equivalent for “heritage,” erfgoed, has become a buzzword in the Netherlands. Often presented as a neologism, little attention is paid to the term’s longer history. Th is article traces the history through a survey of digitized newspapers from 1700 to 1975, revealing elements of erfgoed’s current meaning well before the twentieth-century heritage mania. In the eighteenth century a synonym of “freedom,” in the latter nineteenth century frequently carrying the prefix nationaal, and in the 1930s associated with genetics and folk culture, erfgoed can be regarded as a speculum vitae, taking on different meanings depending on the era. As elsewhere in Europe, the second half of the nineteenth century was the most decisive moment in the evolution of the term.

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Elizabeth C. Macknight

This article presents two case studies, from Scotland and the Scottish Islands, of communities' engagement with archives and their attitudes toward heritage. The case studies arise out of knowledge transfer between an historian employed in an academic role at a Scottish university and two “third sector“ organizations. By comparing the perspectives of historians, archivists, and community organizations the article shows the different ways in which these separate interest groups perceive the value of archives. It then points to some of the possibilities and challenges of working collaboratively to deepen understanding about the past and to create wider opportunities, now and in the future, for historical interpretation, teaching, learning, and research. In the era of digital technologies, it is recommended that undergraduate students be taught the key concepts of archival theory and practice, while also being encouraged to experience working with original archival documents.

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Heritage

Renovation, Relocation, Remediation, and Repositioning Museums

Mary Bouquet

This article examines the changing relationship between museums and heritage using a number of Dutch cases. It argues that if heritage was once defined as being museological in character, this order of precedence is under revision as museums themselves are recursively transformed by heritage dynamics. Such dynamics include the display of renovation work-in-progress; the enhancement of historical collections by relocation to prominent new sites and buildings; the transformation of old industrial sites into new art and public spaces; and a mutual reinforcement between the urban landscape setting and the institutions that compose it by virtual means. Postcolonial heritage practices worldwide enfold museums in a further set of transformatory dynamics: these include claims on cultural property that was removed in colonial times, but also the strategic transformation of cultural property into heritage for didactic purposes. Museums are subject to the recursive dynamics of heritage, which are turning them inside out.

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Mary N. Taylor

Since the early 1990s, language used to speak of cultural practices once thought of as "folklore" has become increasingly standardized around the term intangible heritage. Supranational intangible heritage policies promote a contradictory package that aims to preserve local identity and cultural diversity while promoting democratic values and economic development. Such efforts may contribute to the deployment of language that stresses mutual exclusivity and incommensurability, with important consequences for individual and group access to resources. This article examines these tensions with ethnographic attention to a Hungarian folk revival movement, illuminating how local histories of "heritage protection" meet with the global norm of heritage governance in complicated ways. I suggest the paradoxical predicament that both "liberal" notions of diversity and ethno-national boundaries are co-produced through a number of processes in late capitalism, most notably connected to changing relations of property and citizenship regimes.

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Pertti Anttonen

All scholarly fields feed on rhetoric of praise and criticism, mostly self-praise and self-criticism. Ethnology and folklore studies are not exceptions in this, regardless of whether they constitute a single field or two separate but related ones. This essay discusses questions concerning ethnological practice and object formation, cultural theory and the theory of tradition (or the lack thereof), cultural transmission, cultural representation, and the ethics and politics of cultural ownership and repatriation. It draws on general observations as well as on work in progress. The main concern is with a discursive move: from tradition to heritage, from the ethnography of repetition and replication to cultural relativist descriptions and prescriptions of identity construction and cultural policy, from ethnography as explanation to ethnography as representation and presentation. In addition, the essay seeks to delineate other underlying tenets that appear to constitute our traditions and heritages - both as strengths and as long-term constraints and biases. Where is ethnology headed in its quest to transcend theories and practices? Less theory and more practice? More theory on practice? Or more practice on theory?

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Authentically socialist

Czech heritage management at the former Liechtenstein estate of Lednice-Valtice

Veronica E. Aplenc

The Lednice-Valtice area, Southern Moravia, represents over 220 square kilometers of vast architectural and landscape heritage. As the former Liechtenstein ducal seat nationalized in 1945 and a major tourist attraction throughout the twentieth century, this site embodies the complex issues of heritage and authenticity. Post-war Czech preservationists incorporated pre-socialist legislative systems and beliefs into their socialist-era professional praxis, in a striking use of Habsburg-era, modernist cultural capital. Central to this borrowing was preservationists' casting themselves as state-legislated experts in heritage management, using an almost exclusively aesthetics-focused presentation in messy ideological situations.

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A French place without a cheese

Problems with heritage and identity in northeastern France

Paola Filippucci

In France, the classic produit du terroir, the local product that with its mix of skill and raw materials embodies the distinctive tie between people and their terroir (soil), is cheese. Thus, when inhabitants of the Argonne say that it “does not even have a cheese”, they imply that it lacks a patrimoine (cultural heritage). On the other hand, they do make passionate claims about 'being Argonnais', conveying a marked recognition of, and attachment to, a named place in relation to which they identify themselves and others. Focusing on this paradox, this article will highlight certain assumptions regarding the definition of cultural heritage found in public policy.