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Explain why and how conservators and museum staff often have other views on the cultural significance of objects than the culture in which the object is used, or has been used. Discuss constructive ways of defusing potential conflicts between museums and aboriginal cultures. ( 2 pages)
We are on our way moving towards to liberate cross-cultural experience which includes drifting apart from value measurement mostly according only to Eurocentric viewpoint. Despite that, there is still widespread belief in that the Indigenous people are not interested in treating their cultural heritage with all required care in order to ensure long-term preservation. It is important to accept cultural diversity in context of museology, but, unfortunately, western museum practices too often are considered as naturally given. The lack of tolerance to different points of view in some way prohibits us to recognize museological behavior in other forms.
Conservators and museum staff face the problem of finding ways how to integrate western changes in various aspects of collecting and preservation of Indigenous cultures in order to avoid eliminating the respect to the traditional policies that Indigenous people still regard as desirable. It is a big challenge for museums to manage culturally sensitive collections.
It has been widely discussed that cultures should be if not yet legal, then at least moral owners of the items of their own cultural heritage, and I am in accordance with people who agree that aboriginal people had and have the legitimate ownership over their own heritage. This is why I think, when it comes to the questions related with their culture that is still in continuity, they should be at least involved in decision-making process. Several museums, indeed, are already working on development of frameworks for dynamic mutual collaboration with First Nations’ representatives in order to gain their opinion as well as advices about the current and future preservation and protection actions. By this aboriginal cultures are allowed to participate in preservation of their own culture, using their own voice.
Curatorial practices are no longer based only on taking care of objects, now it also includes cultivation of harmonious relationships between both and collectors and the ones whose culture is being collected in order to direct toward redressing mistakes made back in history as well as show respect for diverse worldviews and belief systems. In order to solve the conflicts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous policies and philosophies of rights in heritage much more tolerance and understanding must be gained. Indigenous societies usually have an abstinent reaction to the innovations which Western societies have tried to present them. Even the number of aboriginal people who have received western education is still tiny when compared to those who better prefer follow traditions, we have no rights to judge them as unable to take care of their own heritage.
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