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  ICME Newsletter 39, December 2004




It is an honor to be chosen as the new president of ICME. I have gotten to know many of you during the last three years while serving as co-editor and secretary, and hope now to further the aims of ICME though representation in the ICOM advisory council, and through involvement in organizing annual ICME meetings.

I see the ICME sessions at ICOM2004 conference in Seoul, Korea as full of memorable experiences not least since the main ICOM theme was so applicable to our work. As the general focus of ethnographic museums is normally on contextualizing culture, the theme "Museums and Intangible Heritage" elicited many rewarding presentations and discussions in both pure "ICME" sessions, as well as in joint sessions with other ICOM groups, such as ICTOP, INTERCOM, ICOM-Korea and the ICOM Legal Affairs Committee. Many of the presented papers are in the process of publication on the ICME web site, and INTERCOM intends to publish the papers from our joint session on repatriation on their site http://intercom.icom.museum

More than 70 ICME members attended ICOM2004, and ICME gained a number of new members during the conference.

The National Folk Museum of Korea was ICME's liaison institution during ICOM 2004. This was a collaboration, which functioned quite well, both on an administrative level, and on a social level. The director of NFMK, Dr. Hongnam Kim, and her staff graciously invited ICME to a full day at her museum, and organized an exclusive (but also quite intensive) post-conference tour for us.

The National Folk Museum also had a film crew documenting much of the conference. A link to their online-photos will be soon be listed on our website. ICME member Leif Pareli, from the Norwegian Folk Museum has already put quite a few pictures from the conference and post-conference tour on his website at http://home.online.no/~pareli/galleries.html. We encourage other ICME2004 participants also to share their experiences, and to send both photos and texts to the new ICME editor, Viv Golding!

The ICME general assembly was held on October 6th. A new 13-member board was elected for 2004-2007 (see the list below). Retiring members of the 2001-2004 board were thanked for their initiative during the last period.

As both ICOM Greece and ICME member (now ICME secretary) Annette Fromm had approached us with interesting ideas for future conference locations, the general assembly gave the new board a mandate to further explore possibilities for ICME conferences in Greece during the autumn of 2005, and Florida, USA in 2006. Further details on each of these this will soon be available on the ICME web site, as well as in the next ICME news. Vienna has already been chosen as the venue for 2007 ICOM general conference. I'm looking forward to meeting many of you during each of these conferences, as well as discussing with you through ICME news and the ICME newsgroup!

Daniel Winfree Papuga


<h3>2. ICME BOARD 2004-2007</h3> Daniel Winfree Papuga, President,
Plutobakken 42, 3055 Krokstadelva, Norway.
Tel +47 92419946, Fax: +1 7633743116
e-mail: president@icme.icom.museum

Annette Fromm, Secretary
The Deering Estate at Cutler, Miami, Florida, USA
E-mail: secretary@icme.icom.museum

Viv Golding, Editor of ICME-news
Lecturer, Department of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, UK.
E-mail: editor@icme.icom.museum

Lidija Nikocevic, Treasurer
Director, Ethnographic Museum of Istria, Pazin, Croatia.
E-mail: treasurer@icme.icom.museum

Matthias Beitl, Co-correspondent for Europe
Curator, Osterreichisches Museum fur Volkskunde, Vienna, Austria.
E-mail: matthias.beitl@volkskundemuseum.at

Denis-Michel Boell, Co-correspondent for Europe
The Direction des Musees de France
E-mail: denis-michel.boell@culture.gouv.fr

Corneliu Bucur, Co-correspondent for Europe
Directeur, Muzeul Civilizatiei Populare Traditionale "Astra", Sibiu, Romania.
e-mail: info@muzeulastra.ro (museum office)

Kalyan Kumar Chakravarty, Correspondent for South Asia
Member Secretary, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, New Delhi, India.
E-mail: msignca@yahoo.com

Wedad Hamed, Correspondent for the Middle East
Director, Material Culture Dept, Academy of Arts, Cairo, EGYPT
E-mail: wedad_hamed@hotmail.com

Maria Camilla de Palma, Co-correspondent for Europe
Director, Castello D'Albertis, Genoa, Italy
E-mail: mcdepalma@comune.genova.it

Lejo Schenk, Co-correspondent for Europe
Director, Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
e-mail: l.schenk@kit.nl

Martin Skrydstrup, Correspondent for Repatriation
PHD-student, Columbia University, Department of Anthropology, New York, USA
E-mail: mcs2005@columbia.edu

Beate Wild, Co-correspondent for Europe
Curator, Museum Europaischer Kulturen, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Germany
E-mail: b.wild@smb.spk-berlin.de


First I must echo Daniel's words of thanks on the generosity of the Korean Folk Museum professionals. This was my first ICOM conference, which presented me with a wonderful introduction to the rich life and ancient cultural heritage of such a friendly and spiritual people. I do miss Korean food so delicious and healthy, but I am still practicing Korean Yoga with anyone who stops long enough in my office!

I also want to thank you all for welcoming me so warmly into your ICME world. I certainly feel that I gained many soul mates, or as Bill says 'Seoul mates' in Korea! We do have some witty folk in our midst don't we, as well as those healers Lief, Espen, Lydia, Suzanne and Annette to mention just a few! What a wonderful group.

Like Daniel I feel specially honoured to be the editor of ICME NEWS. I hope to learn some technical skills so that I can actually be more useful to you in the future. Life at the Dept of Museum Studies, University of Leicester is exceptionally hectic, just like my experience of the Museum World, and so this promise of a new format may well be a year or so in coming. Patience is a virtue, I hear.

In the meantime please keep in touch with me via email. Do send me any news or ideas that you think will be of interest to us. I hope we can continue to be a supportive network of people, so if you simply hope to get advice from ICME members on a particular problem you know where you can contact us, ICME NEWS.

To everyone who sent me their conference papers, I must say thank you. I know how difficult it is juggling tasks and appreciate the extra effort you all made to let us share your thoughts on intangible heritage in the context of the museum. I apologise for the short delay in publication, but think you will agree with me that the contributions here are well worth the wait.

Finally, as I look out at a landscape covered in an early snow, let me send you Season's Greetings from the UK. May peace and joy be with us for the New Year.

Viv Golding, Editor of ICME-news

E-mail: editor@icme.icom.museum

Contact address: University of Leicester

Department of Museum Studies

105 Princess Road East

Leicester LE1 7LG. UK

Telephone: +44(0) 116 252 3975

Fax: +44(0) 116 252 3960

The deadline for the next issue is 15th February 2005. Please send your news to any of the above contact addresses, although email is preferred.


"Museums and Intangible Heritage" ICOM 2004 general conference, Seoul, Korea

The following papers are available for dowloading:

Other papers will soon follow on the ICME2004 webpage!

<h3>5. SHOULD ICOM ADJUDICATE CULTURAL PROPERTY DISPUTES?</h3> <h4>A Review Essay from the Triennial in Seoul</h4> ICME board member Martin Skrydstrup has written a review article of the joint INTERCOM, ICME and ICOM Legal Affairs Committee session on repatriation during ICOM 2004.

The abstract is included below. Read the ENTIRE article on the ICME2004 webpage.


What role should ICOM play in cultural property disputes? Does the current ICOM approach underwritten by the Code of Ethics suffice? If not, should ICOM consider the introduction of dispute settlement such as arbitration or mediation? These questions were addressed by a joint panel at the ICOM Triennial General Conference in Seoul, where Marilyn Phelan gave the keynote entitled Legal and Ethical Considerations in the Repatriation of Illegally Exported and Stolen Cultural Property: Is there a Means to Settle the Disputes? Phelan argued that there is currently no legal regime in place to address adequately the issues relating to the restitution of illegally exported and/or stolen cultural property. By choosing to illustrate this by four rather clear cut and morally compelling cases of illicit exported and looted art, Phelan made a poignant case for the introduction of new means of dispute resolution. Responding to Phelan's proposal Harrie Leyten and W. Richard West, Jr. came down in favor of an informal mediation option as opposed to formal and binding arbitration. The reviewer argues that the disparities between the panelists reveal more fundamental differences in their conception of museum collections as cultural property. If the problem can be reduced to a conventional ownership issue, then it is consistent to argue as Phelan did in favor of an International Arbitration Panel. If the issue at hand is a postcolonial Nation's ability to display its heritage or a local community's control over its ceremonial objects, then the problem hinges on more than conventional ownership notions and mediation or other negotiated proceedings would seem the most appropriate remedy to apply, as the two respondents both argued. Overall, the panel revealed a need to examine fundamental ownership conceptions of museum collections with respect to the relevant stakeholders in any exploration of mediation or arbitration as a mean to resolve disputes.

Martin Skrydstrup ICME Board Member



December 10: "Display, Development and Diagnosis Day - What's new at Brighton with exhibitions, community work and an object identification session", Museum Ethnographers Group meeting, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, UK. http://www.museumethnographersgroup.org.uk/megmeetings.htm

December 14-18: "Post Traditional Environments in a Post GlobalWorld", Ninth Conference of the International Association for theStudy of Traditional Environments, Sharjah/Dubai, UAE. http://www.arch.ced.berkeley.edu/research/iaste/

December 12-15: "Strategies for Development of Indigenous People" and "Mega Urbanization, Multi-ethnic Society, Human Rights and Development": IUAES 2004 Inter-Congress, Kolkata and Ranchi, India. http://www.leidenuniv.nl/fsw/iuaes/10-01-CALCUTTACONGRESS.HTM

December 15-19: AAA Annual Meeting Meeting Moves Location and Dates! Due to labor dispute at the San Francisco Hilton, the Anthropological Association's Annual Meeting for Nov. 17-21, 2004 has been moved to to the Atlanta Hilton, December 15-19, 2004. http://www.aaanet.org/

January 10- 28 2005: "Conservation and Exhibition of Southeast Asian Collections" ICROM international course on Conservation and Exhibition of Southeast Asian Collection, Bangkok, Thailand. http://www.iccrom.org/

March 23 - 26, 2005: National Meeting of the Popular Culture / American Culture Associations, San Diego, California, USA. http://www.h-net.org/~pcaaca/2005/

April 4-7, 2005: "Creativity and cultural improvisation", ASA 2005Conference, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK. http://www.theasa.org/conferences.htm

April 5-10, 2005: "Heritage, Environment and Tourism", annual conference of the Society for Applied Anthropology. Santa Fe, NewMexico, USA. http://www.sfaa.net

May 9-10 2005: Looking Backward, Looking Forward" Museum Ethnographers Group annual meeting, Manchester, UK. Deadline for paper proposals: December 9th 2004. http://www.museumethnographersgroup.org.uk/

July 19-23, 2005: "Pacific Arts Association Eighth International Symposium", Salem, Massachusetts, USA. http://www.pacificarts.org/


The project 'Non-European Components of European Patrimony' held a workshop in Budapest in March, 2004 with the title "Non-European ethnographical collections in Central and Eastern Europe". Papers from the workshop are available on the NECEP page: http://www.necep.net/budapest.html

Papers from two earlier workshops organised in Paris are also available: "History of non-European collections in European Museums" and "Objects and Societies". See http://www.necep.net/about.html for details.


In the period from 14 to 17 October 2004, the 4th International ethno-museological conference in Central and South-Eastern Europe took place. Following Budapest (2001), Vienna (2002) and Martin (Slovakia, 2003) this years conference was held in Sibiu (Romania). Unfortunately, for unknown reasons participants from many countries were lacking. At the conference with the theme "Folk costume symbol of ethnocultural identity" a group of 22 participants from Romania (10), Hungary (3), Croatia (3), Ukraine (2), Yugoslavia (2), Germany (1) and Austria (1) were present.

Each participant had 15-20 minutes to present the experiences of his/her country, region or museum, relative to the conference theme. Many participants provided detailed description of complete traditional costumes or their parts. Unfortunately, only a few of these elaborated on the values the traditional costumes were given in different time periods, the ways how these costumes became symbols of national or regional identity, the ways of keeping in museums the costumes with changed functions, the different attitudes to keeping costumes and footwear in museums, methods needed for costumes restoration, etc.

In the breaks between presentations, our colleagues from ASTRA museum acquainted us with their own unique methods of maintaining their intangible heritage, especially traditional crafts. For this purpose, within the program "Living human treasures" about keeping the intangible heritage, they organize the international and national fairs (even Olympic games!) of traditional crafts, craftsmen associations, galleries and sales places for craftsmen's products.

One of the frequent problems - the absence of discussion about reports was present at the Sibiu conference too, and even intensified by a very condensed schedule and some reports that were too long. Last year in Martin this problem was eased by group work during the last day of the conference, when participants had the possibility to discuss and propose future projects (which hadn't yet been done). At the Sibiu conference, participants could exchange their ideas only during private discussions.

Last year in Martin, the idea about creating aweb page was abandoned as unnecessary - while the idea about establishing a mailing list containing regular news concerning museum activities in the area of Central and South Eastern Europe was accepted. As the idea was not realized and even not mentioned at the Sibiu conference, such a mailing list of remains an unrealized wish. Communication between participants of the Sibiu conference depended on private initiative. As one of ideas and aims of the conference was to create a better communication level between Central and South-East European ethnologists, I believe it would be very useful to realize this idea.

The visit to Sibiu was interesting for me, but far too short, especially concerning attendance of an uncommon folklore performance in the recently restored "Old theatre". A visit again later may be worthwhile, as Sibiu is presently one gigantic building site, in preparation for 2007, when together with Luxembourg it shall assume the title of European capital of culture.

Although the venue for next year meeting of colleagues from museums of Central and South Eastern Europe is still unknown, I hope that foundations for better networks and more concrete ways of cooperating shall be established there.

Olga Orlic

Ethnographic museum of Istria, Croatia


When the Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art in Vienna organized the meeting of the Central European Ethnographic Museums in the year 2002, we dedicated a large part of the available time to the discussion of future projects.

Under an external professional moderation, we discussed a whole day in teamwork, how and with which projects one could cooperate in future lastingly. There were very concrete results which, however, only can be developed if a structural continuity and a continuity in content is created for the individual conferences.

I think, that there must be an executive board of its own within the working group of Central European Ethnographic Museums. This board decides contents as well as organizational interests in cooperation with the colleagues out of the museums involved.

Through this, the development of long-term co operations between the institutions would be possible. As experiences in international exhibition co operations show, conceptual and organization work in groups enriches the knowledge transfer between the institutions.

Matthias Beitl

Austrian Museum for Folk Life and Folk Art



I would like to kindly ask your help in a matter which related to small museums.

I'm working on a study concerning small museums in the Mediterranean countries. The study includes Museum history, collections and activities; it will also include a revision of the Museums history, management, collections, activities and conditions.

The study will focus on designing a framework for upgrading and developing existing museums both on the managerial and contextual levels. It is proposing a model for the interaction between the different museums, and getting benefits of their individual experiences.

A discussion of museums as source of cultural, educational, and internal tourism and as a tool in tourism industry is essential to the study; this should include financing museums and procedures leading to self-sustainability if possible.

What I mean by help is just to provide me with the name of a contact person in your country who work in small museums, and can cooperate to create this study. I know that you are all busy, and would understand if you couldn't help, or felt that this subject is very far from your interest.

Yours truly,

Atiyeh Khateeb (Sartawi), Palestine.



On Tuesday October 5th., during ICOM2004, the members of ICME spent a delightful day under the hospitality of the staff of the National Folk Museum of Korea. The program included demonstrations on the education service, folkdancing, lunch and dinner and guided tours of the galleries. The displays cover a much wider field than the name of the museum would suggest and include archaeology, history and art.

A feature of the displays, both here and in many other Korean museums, is the use of models. These are lavish to say the least and demonstrate that museums have a very much higher priority in Korea than they do in Britain. The scale and scope of these models varies greatly, from huge dioramas of whole cities, to small life-size sets.

The last group, of items displayed at actual size, pose a problem which was voiced by some of the members. For example, in a scene representing life during the Silla dynasty, silk robes must obviously be replicas. But what of ceramic vases? Are these originals or also replicas?

There are two ways in which it can be made clear at a glance what items in any given display are true antiquities and which are modern replicas. They comprise: Colour-Coding and Key Pi


I feel that it would be fair to say that the labelling systems used in this museum, are very traditional: indeed, this is true in all the museums which I have seen in Korea. In particular almost all labelling is on white stock.

In my view, and I am well aware that not everyone will agree with my opinion, labels should generally be on coloured, i.e. lightly tinted, stock. I suggest this partly for aesthetic reasons, but mainly because it gives another dimension to display, by making it possible to convey information at a glance.

Colour-coding can be used for many purposes, depending on the nature of the display, the intentions of the person designing it and the audience intended. For example:

- To distinguish captions from text

- To provided different levels of labelling - basic or advanced

- To mark out transcriptions or translations of, e.g. inscriptions

- To identify donors

- To identify languages, e.g. Chinese from Japanese.

One use of colour-coding is to differentiate captions for original specimens from captions for models.

- First colour ( e.g. orange) for original objects or pictures

- Second colour (e.g. sky blue) for models, such as replicas, casts, reconstructions and perhaps also reprints and photographs.


Individual captions for exhibits may not always be suitable for a display, for example, often if the viewer is more than about a metre away. In particular one would not want set pieces, such as habitat groups or period rooms, to be festooned with captions. Even worse, in my opinion, is to assign each item an intrusive number or letter, corresponding to a similar number or letter referring to one of a battery of labels.

A key picture is an illustration of the display placed either on a board or on a desk in front. The objects appear on this illustration, as, generally, outlines or silhouettes, each with the appropriate caption.

These outlines or silhouettes can likewise be coded.

- First colour (e.g.bright red) for originals

- Second colour (e.g. deep blue) for replicas and other models.

These two methods can be used either separately or together. Both can be installed easily and at virtually nil cost. Perhaps this could be something also for other ICME museums to consider?

David C Devenish



The letter below outlines with passion the difficulties that ethnographers working in countries such as Nepal, culturally and geographically rich but financially poor face, in terms of preserving cultural heritage. It clearly highlights the problem in a context of globalization, where rich nations have purchasing power over poorer ones who are in danger of losing precious cultural artifacts to the museums, private collectors and traders of the West. What to do? As Museum professionals, even in the West, we do not usually have large capital budgets. It is possible to secure grants from government, but this is a lengthy and complex process in my experience. We do however have a code of ethics; we can also share skills and expertise. For example, the 2002 ICME conference in Zambia focused on "High Expectations, but Low Funding: How do poor museums meet their targets?"

And again, in my country a colleague, Laura Peers at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford is working WITH First Nations people to preserve their heritage. Her work seems to provide a valuable partnerships model for ICOM-ICME. I am sure there are many other 'success stories' that members may like to share with us via the newsletter. Members may also have bright ideas on this and I suggest we ask them to let us know via ICOM-ICME news.




Sent: Tue 11/30/2004 2:15 AM</dd><dd>To: editor@icme.icom.museum

Subject: Nepal

I accept your "Welcome to the ICME newsgroup" happily. We have more the to forty-one ethic group and 61 dialects. Different cultures, food habits, dress and ornamentation, including house-building systems. Because of the rapidly increasing small and big of Urbanization, Industry, and globalization, Nepalese culture is losing day by day which is urgently required to preserve and conserve these intangible and tangible properties as soon as possible. The problems of under developing country like Nepal have different types of problems than the world might expect of JAPAN,CHINA, SINGAPORE in Asian country including African, South American and Pacific countries like basic HEATH, basic EDUCATION, basic DRINKING WATER, basic EDUCATION along hand to mouth problems running around us often.

Nepal is not only rich in ethnological culture, but also in its geography. Because government should focus their priority of aspect or area in other sectors which willingly. In such cases, we should look to face developed countries and peoples like you.

My objectives

1- I am planning to collect traditional utensils, dresses, ornaments, musical instruments, and their methods or ways of life in visual camera.

2- People are sending such goods abroad through antique dealers and tourists.

3- After some year later above mentioned objects may disappear and we should visit to foreign museums to see objects created by our ancestors.

4- The necessary thing is to study and research to hand over coming posterity for educational values.

I have written to the Getty Foundation and other organizations, including requests for resource persons or funding, but always receive the COMMON answer: UNFORTUNATELY (frankly, saying the word UNFORTUNATELY gives me a HIGH ALLERGY irritation).

In a real sense above-mentioned problems are not only my tension, instead they are the problems of all humankind.


Bharat Raj Rawat

Senior Curator, National Museum of Nepal, Kathmandu.


<h3>11. CALL FOR THOUGHT</h3>

Cultural diversity seems to be one of our main ICME themes. We have a lot of expertise within our group on this topic and wonder if someone might be willing to write a short piece for the next issue? Your contribution could be just a short paragraph of ideas or questions. It could also consist of several dense pages, but given work-loads that may be unlikely. I am personally interested in the relationship between multiculturalism and antiracism. In the UK some multicultural projects have been criticized as tokenistic. For example looking at the '3Ss Saris, Samosas and Steel Bands' for just 1 day within a year-long Eurocentric museum/school curriculum, rather than looking at the socio-political roots of master narratives.

We look forward to hearing your views, however brief.

Kind regards.

Viv Golding, Editor of ICME-news

E-mail: editor@icme.icom.museum

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