The Cultural Crucible, in New Roles and Missions for Museums

Authors: Staelens, Y.

Conference: INTERCOM Symposium, ICOM: New Roles and Missions of Museums

Dates: 2-4 November 2006


Museums are about people. Museums need to connect with people through embracing their interests, their passions, their very humanity. Without this connection museums have little relevance or purpose in society. Instead, they become merely repositories for a set of curios; funded to what purpose? Value to contemporary society is critical for museum longevity. How can museums achieve this connection in new ways? One route might be to make deeply local connections; to seek ancestors who have made a contribution to culture that has hitherto gone unheralded. The Lost Singers of Somerset project has reclaimed such a heritage for today's consumption. Somerset people gave their songs to Edwardian folk music collector Cecil Sharp, who duly published and promoted them. As the songs went on, in oral culture and elsewhere, the singers' role diminished. This research has re-discovered the song-bearers, and the intangible cultural heritage that they bore. The challenge has been to integrate these discoveries into the realm of museums and the museum audience. Using The Lost Singers project as a case study, this paper explores the idea of the museum as a

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Yvette Staelens

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