Expanding Definitions and Understandings of Cultural Heritage: A Review of the Literature

For week six there was a long list of sites and articles with abstracts.  I won’t feature all of them, as I only had a chance to explore or read some of them in their entirety.  It was just a bit too much for one week.

I went through the resources this week, and the following ones are what stood out to me the most.

I have to agree with the ALA’s stance on what is the libraries responsibility towards Traditional Cultural Expressions.  I think that facilitating and assisting a community that chooses to preserve it’s own cultural history is exactly what libraries and librarians should try to do.  Providing the community with supplementary material to assist them or augment their efforts is also a great service that libraries and librarians should provide.  The guidelines laid out in the report should be taken to heart by all librarians, not just those in culturally rich or diverse areas.

Adam Smith’s article on the re-enactors and whether or not it is history.  I was surprised that they do American Civil War Reenactment in Britain, who knew that war was so popular overseas?  I think he made some good points.  In a way, Living History does preserve the past and show people what it really was like.  But it does tend to forget the issues surrounding the events.  While we learn the facts and the issues in history class, I think that combined with seeing a Living History event would provide students with a deeper and better understanding of the events.  There is something to be said for seeing it rather than just being told how it was.  Together with proper education, Living History can enhance our understanding of the past and our Cultural Heritage.

I also explored the Journal of American Culture which had numerous interesting articles.  Including ones on women’s bicycle fashions and the changing images in Vampire fiction.  I just couldn’t find anything that went with the topic other than the article posted by the professor.

A great website is The Cultural Landscape Foundation, the only non-profit group in the US “dedicated to increasing the public’s awareness and understanding of the importance and irreplaceable legacy of is cultural landscape.”  They help preserve for future generations historic homes, parks, cemeteries, landscapes and other areas that are threatened by spreading cities and modernization.  Cultural Landscapes are “sites associated with a particular event, activity, person, or group of people.”  The work this group does ensures that historic sites that are important, and ones that aren’t quite as important, survive for the future.

References

Smith, A. I. P. (2001). It’s magnificent, but is it history? History Today, 51,5 36-7.

Traditional Cultural Expressions Task Force. (2010). Librarianship and traditional cultural expressions: Nurturing understanding and respect.

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