Intangible Cultural Heritage and Museums Field School
: E-learning Resources
Museums have long been sites for the collection and display of tangible heritage, including art and artifacts. In recent years, however, museums around the world have expanded the scope of their exhibitions and curatorial practices to include living heritage, such as oral history and memory, craftsmanship, festivals, ritual and performance, and in this regard, museums are increasingly being recognized as important partners in the effort to safeguard intangible cultural heritage.
As noted by Richard Kurin, Director of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage at the Smithsonian Institution, this expansion of museum work to include intangible heritage presents a number of methodological challenges. While most museum professionals are trained to manage collections of objects, working with intangible heritage entails the extensive involvement and active participation of communities who are the bearers of living culture. In learning about intangible heritage, museum professionals must engage with local communities to understand the history and meaning of their cultural expressions. In addition, in curating intangible heritage, they must know how to establish equal partnerships with culture bearers and develop mechanisms for sharing authority and decision-making about museum activities and representations.
These e-learning materials focus on the role of the museum in the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage. Aimed at heritage practitioners and museum operators, the materials provide an introduction to conceptual frameworks and approaches for incorporating intangible cultural heritage into the museum. Drawing on lectures and hands-on field experience from the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Museums Field School (August 2010) held in Thailand’s Lamphun Province, the materials offer twelve lectures and two case studies on how to support the research, documentation, transmission and revitalization of intangible cultural heritage.
Detailed information about the SAC ICH and Museums Field School is available at the following link:http://www.sac.or.th/fieldschool/