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The Intangible Heritage: a Challenge and an Opportunity for Museums and Museum Professional Training

Author(s): Patrick J. Boylan

Journal: International Journal of Intangible Heritage
ISSN 1975-3586

Volume: 1;
Start page: 53;
Date: 2006;
Original page

The main emphasis of most museums over the centuries has been on the material or tangible cultural or natural heritage. However, from very early times some museums have also been closely involved in preserving and presenting the immaterial or intangible culture as well. On 20th April 2006 the new UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage 2003 came into force, so it is timely to consider the implications of this major new development for museums. Will new organisations and services, a new profession even, be created to give effect to the new treaty that will challenge, threaten even, the traditional roles of museums and museum professionals in relation to the heritage? Or can museums, the museum profession, and not least museum professional training, respond positively to these serious potential challenges and take a major role in ensuring that the admirable aims of the Intangible Heritage Convention are achieved in relation to all, or most, of its five key areas: oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, and traditional craftsmanship?
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