Project to explore intangible cultural heritage in museums - Museums Association

Project to explore intangible cultural heritage in museums

Arts Council England will fund Icomos-UK museum project
Profile image for Eleanor Mills
Eleanor Mills
The International Council on Monuments and Sites for the UK (Icomos-UK) has been granted £15,000 by Arts Council England to work with the intangible cultural heritage of selected museums and their local communities in south-east England.

The Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee, a branch of Icomos-UK, has been awarded the funding for a project to explore intangible heritage in museum contexts.

As part of the scheme, five one-day workshops will be held to look at the intangible heritage held by each participating museum in its collection and identify how it can be employed to increase visitor engagement.

The participating museums are: Weald and Downland Living Museum in West Sussex, Hastings Museum and Art Gallery in East Sussex, Cambridge Museum, and Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery, both in Cambridgeshire.

Each of the participating museums will concentrate on one of five domains: oral traditions and expressions, including language; performing arts; social practices, rituals and festive events; knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; or traditional craftsmanship.

Clara Arokiasamy, the chair of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee, said: “Intangible heritage has provided us with a means of living and a way of life, while informing us of our history and shaping our identities. Awareness of intangible cultural heritage within the museum sector remains low.

“We hope that this pilot project will capture some lessons and methodologies, which should benefit other museums.”

John Orna-Ornstein, the arts council's director of museums, said: “Museums are incredible places, housing so many wonderful collections that give audiences an insight into our cultural heritage. But our cultural heritage is so much more than just objects; it is also about our traditions, social practices, festivals and skills.

"These are equally as important, but are more challenging for museums to integrate into their work. This project will be an important catalyst for museums in the south-east and one we’re pleased to be able to support. It will help equip more staff with the skills they need to showcase these intangible elements to their audiences and ensure they are not lost to the sands of time.”


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