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This volume provides an unparalleled exploration of ethics and museum practice, considering the controversies and debates which surround key issues such as provenance, ownership, cultural identity, environmental sustainability and social engagement. Using a variety of case studies which reflect the internal realities and daily activities of museums as they address these issues, from exhibition content and museum research to education, accountability and new technologies, Museums, Ethics and Cultural Heritage enables a greater understanding of the role of museums as complex and multifaceted institutions of cultural production, identity-formation and heritage preservation. Benefitting from ICOM’s unique position in the museum world, this collection brings a global range of academics and professionals together to examine museums ethics from multiple perspectives. Providing a more complete picture of the diverse activities now carried out by museums, Museums, Ethics and Cultural Heritage will appeal to practitioners, academics and students alike.
Theory without practice is empty, practice without theory is blind, to adapt a phrase from Immanuel Kant. The sentiment could not be truer of cultural heritage ethics. This intra-disciplinary book bridges the gap between theory and practice by bringing together a stellar cast of academics, activists, consultants, journalists, lawyers, and museum practitioners, each contributing their own expertise to the wider debate of what cultural heritage means in the twenty-first century. Cultural Heritage Ethics provides cutting-edge arguments built on case studies of cultural heritage and its management in a range of geographical and cultural contexts. Moreover, the volume feels the pulse of the debate on heritage ethics by discussing timely issues such as access, acquisition, archaeological practice, curatorship, education, ethnology, historiography, integrity, legislation, memory, museum management, ownership, preservation, protection, public trust, restitution, human rights, stewardship, and tourism. This volume is neither a textbook nor a manifesto for any particular approach to heritage ethics, but a snapshot of different positions and approaches that will inspire both thought and action. Cultural Heritage Ethics provides invaluable reading for students and teachers of philosophy of archaeology, history and moral philosophy – and for anyone interested in the theory and practice of cultural preservation.
It is widely acknowledged that all archaeological research is embedded within cultural, political and economic contexts, and that all archaeological research falls under the heading ‘heritage’. Most archaeologists now work in museums and other cultural institutions, government agencies, non-government organisations and private sector companies, and this diversity ensures that debates continue to proliferate about what constitutes appropriate professional ethics within these related and relevant contexts. Discussions about the ethics of cultural heritage in the 20th century focused on standards of professionalism, stewardship, responsibilities to stakeholders and on establishing public trust in the authenticity of the outcomes of the heritage process. This volume builds on recent approaches that move away from treating ethics as responsibilities to external domains and to the discipline, and which seek to ensure ethics are integral to all heritage theory, practice and methods. The chapters in this collection chart a departure from the tradition of external heritage ethics towards a broader approach underpinned by the turn to human rights, issues of social justice and the political economy of heritage, conceptualising ethical responsibilities not as pertaining to the past, but to a future-focused domain of social action.
Examines the ethical dilemma of whether, and how, archaeologists and other experts should work with the military to protect cultural property in times of conflict.
Art and Cultural Heritage is appropriately, but not solely, about national and international law respecting cultural heritage. It is a bubbling cauldron of law mixed with ethics, philosophy, politics and working principles looking at how cultural heritage law, policy and practice should be sculpted from the past as the present becomes the future. Art and cultural heritage are two pillars on which a society builds its identity, its values, its sense of community and the individual. The authors explore these demanding concerns, untangle basic values, and look critically at the conflicts and contradictions in existing art and cultural heritage law and policy in its diverse sectors. The rich and provocative contributions collectively provide a reasoned discussion of the issues from a multiplicity of views to permit the reader to understand the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of the cultural heritage debate.
This book considers key ethical questions in museum policy and practice, particularly those related to issues of collection and display. What does a collection signify in the twenty-first century museum? How does an engagement with immateriality challenge museums’ concept of ownership, and how does that immateriality translate into the design of exhibitions and museum space? Are museums still about safeguarding objects, and what does safeguarding mean for diverse individuals and communities today? How does the notion of the museum as a performative space challenge our perceptions of the object? The scholarship represented in this volume is a testament to the range and significance of critical inquiry in museum ethics. Together, the chapters resist a legalistic interpretation, bound by codes and common practice, to advance an ethics discourse that is richly theorized, constantly changing and contingent on diverse external factors. Contributors take stock of innovative research to articulate a new museum ethics founded on the moral agency of museums, the concept that museums have both the capacity and the responsibility to create social change. This book is based on a special issue of Museum Management and Curatorship.
Routledge Companion to Museum Ethics is a theoretically informed reconceptualization of museum ethics discourse as a dynamic social practice central to the project of creating change in the museum. Through twenty-seven chapters by an international and interdisciplinary group of academics and practitioners it explores contemporary museum ethics as an opportunity for growth, rather than a burden of compliance. The volume represents diverse strands in museum activity from exhibitions to marketing, as ethics is embedded in all areas of the museum sector. What the contributions share is an understanding of the contingent nature of museum ethics in the twenty-first century—its relations with complex economic, social, political and technological forces and its fluid ever-shifting sensibility. The volume examines contemporary museum ethics through the prism of those disciplines and methods that have shaped it most. It argues for a museum ethics discourse defined by social responsibility, radical transparency and shared guardianship of heritage. And it demonstrates the moral agency of museums: the concept that museum ethics is more than the personal and professional ethics of individuals and concerns the capacity of institutions to generate self-reflective and activist practice.

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