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1998/2 Summaries


From Nordisk Museologi 1998/2: SUMMARY pp. 3-16

Beate Knuth Federspiel:

Cultural Heritage and Incentives for preservation

The paper attempts to provide a historical view of how people have related to 'cultural heritage' through the ages - how it was treated, what were the incentives for preserving cultural property and what ideas governed the view of the past. It discusses the meaning of the concept 'cultural heritage' from the beginning of this century focussing on the recent conceptions expressed in The Nara Document on Authenticity, 1994, and the report: Our Creative Diversity from the World Commission on Culture and Development, established under the auspices of Unesco in 1992. This report was published in 1995.

Beate Knuth Federspiel er konservator uddannet ved Det Kgl.Danske Kunstakademi, hvor hun underviser bl.a. i bevaringshistorie og -filosofi, samt i historiske maleteknikker og restaurering.
Adr: Kunstakademiets Konservatorskole,
Esplanaden 34, 1263 København K
Fax: +45-33 74 47 77
E-mail: bkf@kons.dk


From Nordisk Museologi 1998/2: SUMMARY pp. 29-40

Camilla Mordhorst:

Funen Relics

Funen Relics is the title of a coming exposition at Odense Bys Museer. While working on the exposition several discussions have arisen on the issue of the necessity - or lack of it - of the object. In many expositions the object is used to illustrate a text, which can be read on large plates. The objects are therefore in a certain sense superfluous, since the message is perfectly understandable without their use. On the other hand it is impossible to let the object stand alone, because objects don't speak. They must be spoken for.
Funen Relics is an attempt to throw light upon the object by picking out a certain kind of object in this particular instance objects related to stories of immortal love, heroism, the spirit of self-sacrifice or other such mythical tales. We have chosen to call these objects relics, because like «proper» religious relics their very existence is sufficient to provoke strong emotions in us. In the exposition every relic will have its own exhibition case and the story ascribed to the object will be written on
plates positioned beside it.
In Funen Relics the presence of the object is a necessary but not sufficient condition for its meaning to come across. The exposition cannot work unless both the objects and the texts are there. Funen Relics is therefore not only an exhibition but also a practical suggestion for an exhibition in which the objects become the necessary carriers of meaning.


Camilla Mordhorst er museumsinspektør ved Odense Bys Museer, Afd. for Viden og Formidling. Cand.comm. i Kommunikation fra Roskilde Universitetscenter og Europæisk Etnologi fra Københavns Universitet. Deltager i Museologisk Netværk.
Adr. Overgade 48, DK - 5000 Odense C.
Fax + 45 65 90 73 76


From Nordisk Museologi 1998/2: SUMMARY pp. 41-50

Maiken Hansen:

Collections Management

The author has a masters degree in Museum Studies from University College London. She introduces the subject of collections management and the concept of a collections management policy with regard to standards in America and Britain.
The need to establish policies and procedures in museums is part of the movement towards a more professional approach to museum work. As far as collections management is concerned, the starting point has often been to produce a statement of acquisition policy to show that the museum is acting legally and that it is collecting in a responsible manner. This has led to initiatives from professional associations (ICOM, American Association af Museums, Museums Association etc.) to produce codes of conduct and codes of practise for curators, registrars, conservators, and other museum professionals. The advantages of such a policy are:
- it provides a guide for museum staff in making decisions about collections management;
- it ensures consistency, improves efficiency and avoids conflicts;
- it helps improve public confidence in a museum by showing that it is managed within the law and according to defined professional standards.

A collections management policy covers a broad range of topics:
1 the purpose of the museum and its collection goals
2 the method for acquiring objects
3 the method for disposing of objects
4 documentation
5 access to collections and data
6 incoming and outgoing loan policies
7 conservation
8 storage
9 handling procedures
10 security
11 insurance
12 exhibition.

Each of the topics mentioned raises a host of issues that must be considered, and the very exercise of reviewing and coming to terms with these issues provides a worthwhile educational opportunity for museum officers and staff. It requires much communication among staff members and frank discussion between staff and board members, and areas of uncertainty or disagreement must be resolved and adjustments made. However, the objective of the policy is not to attempt to solve all possible problems, but to define areas of responsibility and to set forth guidelines for those charged with making certain decisions. The policy, therefore, must be detailed enough to provide useful instruction yet at the same time avoid procedural minutia. A policy is normally revised every 3-5 years.


Maiken Hansen er cand.phil i middelalderarkæologi fra Institut for Middelalderarkæologi, Aarhus Universitet og MA i Museum Studies 1996 fra Department of Archaeology, Conservation and Museum Studies på University College London.
Har i flere perioder arbejdet i England.
Adr.: Svejbækvej 4, Sønderskov, DK-8600 Silkeborg.


From Nordisk Museologi 1998/2: SUMMARY pp. 69-78

Mytte Fentz:

Word and Picture in Ethnographic Interpretation

In Moesgård museum, Denmark, there is an exhibition, Mountain People in Hindukush, based on fieldwork in the 1940s and 50s. In 1994 it was supplemented with a «photo-essay» describing the actual situation in the same community. The paper discusses the difficulties in all attempts to come close to another culture and in what way the different media of word and picture may contribute to a holistic understanding of life in a foreign society. The static exhibition with all the necessary selective operations must take into consideration both the «voices» in the culture described and the frames of understanding available to the visiting public. Oversimplifications are always a threat.

Mytte Fentz, cand.mag. i middelalder-arkæologi og etnografi. Tilknyttet Institut for Etnografi og Socialantropologi, Moesgård, Aarhus Universitet.
Adr: Etnografisk Studiesamling, Moesgård Museum, DK-8270 Højbjerg
Fax: +45-8627 0708


From Nordisk Museologi 1998/2: SUMMARY pp. 95-104

Åse Enerstvedt:

The Nordic Museums Festival - a forum for debate about exhibitions

In spring 1993 Nordic museums were invited to participate in «Nordisk Museumsfestival» (The Nordic Museums Festival), a Swedish idea, created in cooperation between Gundula Adolfsson and Inga Lundström from Sweden, and AmS (Arkeologisk Museum in Stavanger).
The first festival was held in Stavanger, Norway. The original plan was that in future different Nordic museums would take on the arrangement. This proved difficult for many reasons and finally, in the spring of 1998, AmS once again took responsibility for arranging the festival. In Scandinavia, this is a new and different form of museum activity. Museum workers are used to meetings, seminars and conferences, but the festival is a strange form. For trhat reason The Nordic Museum Festival had some minor faults, such as the jury who chose the prizewinner not quite knowing their duty, or the program being much too similar to a conference. One of the tasks of the festival is to create better communication between museum workers and museum visitors, media workers, and bureaucrats handling museum finances and politicies. Visiting the festival exhibitions, listening to the talks and getting the opportunity «to get a look behind the scenes» may afford a better understanding of the role museums can play in a modern society. But the main task is to give museum workers the chance to try out exhibition ideas as models on a smaller scale, discuss ideas, and concentrate for a few days on the art of creating exhibitions. The majority of Nordic museums lack the staff to keep up with the demands of modern exhibition methods and theories. Getting together every second year, exchanging ideas and experiences, listening to the latest news from more advanced - maybe avant-garde museums - provides the staffs of small museums with a great opportunity to update their knowledge and establish valuable contacts with colleagues. Both the central administration of the Nordic countries and some local communities provided economic support for the project. As the festival is regarded as a great success, one can only hope that next time, in Stavanger in the year 2000, public funding will be even more generous. The arrangement deserves support as it is important to everyone who regards museums and museum work as worth developing further in the future.

Åse Enerstvedt er free-lance fagbokforfatter med magistergrad i etnologi. Har vært museumsarbeider siden 1960-tallet - bestyrer for Hordamuseet i Bergen fra 1975 til 1996. Særlig interessert i museenes måte å formidle kunnskap til barn - har utgitt boka «Barn, unge - museum» om norske formidlingsprosjekter og «Nordens barn - nordisk lys» en rapport om et nordisk kunstformidlingsprosjekt.
Adr: Drammensveien 975, 1370 Asker.
E-post: ase.enerstvedt@eunet.no


From Nordisk Museologi 1998/2: SUMMARY pp. 105-118

Margareta Bergvall:

Messages from prehistory

The paper briefly describes the history of signposting prehistoric sites and monuments in the Västernorrland region of Northern Sweden. The author is critical of the routine way the information is offered and what it tells the reader. It is argued that the information contains only standardized phrases about the period the site belongs to and data about measurements that are largely obvious and unnecessary when you stand on the spot. Many texts have apparently been written at a desk far from the locality. The information should instead be composed on the spot and start with an analysis of what it is you can see in the environment that explains the reason for human presence in prehistoric days. The paper outlines a systematic programme of information that should take the visitor stepwise from the information on the spot aimed at arousing curiosity and interest to a brochure that tells about the prehistoric sites in the vicinity and how they can be reached. Finally it should encourage the visitor to go to the regional museum where a comprehensive account of the prehistory of the whole region should be available both in an exhibition and - ideally - in print for study and research. The necessity to exercise the visitors' ability to «read» the environment visually is stressed throughout. In this way they could gain a deeper understanding of the conditions for man's taking possession of and using natural resources in the region.

Margareta Bergvall är arkeolog och antikvarie vid Länsmuseet Västernorrland.
Adr: Länsmuseet Västernorrland, Box 2043,
S-871 02 Härnösand
Fax: +46-61 11 87 30


From Nordisk Museologi 1998/2: SUMMARY pp. 119-134

Per Råberg:

Cultural Policy and a Value-oriented Culture

The author comments upon the UN report Our Creative Diversity initiated by the World Committee on Culture and Development (1995) and the study In from the Margins published by the European Council of Culture in 1997. An attempt is made to analyse the various concepts of culture used and to disentangle the seemingly contradictory applications offered as instruments for global development. An alternative approach to the problem is suggested which takes as its point of departure the idea proposed by the World Commission to put cultural policy at the head of global development ( it has been proposed that a counterpart to Agenta 21 of the Rio Conference should be established in cultural policty). It is shown how a culture of values could be derived from the theory of a social and cultural ecology for sustainable development. This theory has already been outlined in Nordisk Museologi 1996/2, pp. 71-86. The theory encompasses the development of five levels of values inherent in all human beings - emancipatory, empathetic, esthetic, ethic and exploratory value systems. The paper ends with an insistent appeal for a debate about a normative value-oriented cultural policy must be given priority.

Per Råberg är docent och föreståndare för Avdelningen för kulturekologi. Han är knuten till Institutionen för museologi, Umeå universitet.
Adr: Institutionen för museologi, Umeå universitet,
S-901 87 Umeå
Fax +46-90 78 67 845


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