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  ICME Newsletter 30, 2000

ICME Ethnography - Ethnographie - Etnografia

International Committee for Museums of Ethnography - ICOM/ICME

Espen WŠhle, Chief Editor of the Newsletter

Ethnographic Collection, The National Museum of Denmark,

12. Frederiksholms Kanal, DK-1220 Copenhagen K, Denmark,

tel.: +4533473206/03/04, fax.: +4533473320, e-mail: espen.waehle@natmus.dk

Deadline for next issue, no 31: May 1st 2001

Editing & Production: Espen WŠhle - editing completed December 19th 2000


We announce that ICME News will in the future only be sent by mail to those that cannot receive it by e-mail or through access to the internet. A provisional ICME web-site has been established at.

 This contains basic information about ICME, the programme for the coming conference, news on the ICME post conference tour and news. This will from next issue on be our electronic ICME News. We also hope to establish a discussion list in the near future.

ICMEs future publication policy will entail that we will mainly publish newsletters, information about conferences etc. on the web. We will of course, continue to send regular mail to those that do not have access to the net.

Whenever new and important information is published on our website (a new electronic newsletter), we will notify members by e-mail. Others will later receive the newsletter as regular mail. Those who are able to access the internet will thus be able to receive information faster than by our former distribution system. If you have an e-mail address that you have not told us about, send immediately an e-mail to:






ICME 2001 1st to 6th of July, BARCELONA, SPAIN

during ICOM 19th General Conference and 20th General Assembly:

For general information on ICOM 2001 we refer to ICOM News and the pre-enrolment form distributed to ICOM members from ICOM 2001 Barcelona. You will also be able to find more and updated information via the following web-site:


What we present here is only the information pertaining to ICMEĺs own programme during ICOM 2001 Barcelona. ICME will meet from Monday to Wednesday, July 2nd to 4th. All sessions start daily at 09.00. When you register for ICOM 2001 after your arrival in Barcelona, you will receive information on the venues for ICME and other committees. ICME Conference sessions will take place on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the final timing and the detailed programme for this part of the ICME Conference will be available in the ICME Conference Room from 09.00 Monday July 2nd. In the following we present some highlights from the ICME programme in Barcelona:

Monday July 2nd

(09.00-: ICME Conference sessions)

16.00-19.30: A session in, and a special visit to the Museum of Catalonian History

Tuesday July 3rd

09.00-13.30: Joint session with CIMAM on "Categories - the relation between folk art, ethnic art, fine art"

16.00-17.00: ICME elections at the Museu Etnol˛gic

17.00-20.00: Visit to Museu Etnol˛gic, guided tour in 2 groups together with the Costume Committee

21.00: ICME Dinner. Reservations before lunch Monday July 2

Wednesday July 4th

(09.00-: ICME Conference sessions)

Dolores Soriano, contact person for ICME Barcelona 2001,

Museu Etnol˛gic, Passeig Santa Madrona s/n, Parc de Montju´c 08038 Barcelona

tel: +34934246402, 4246807,

fax: +34934237364

e-mail: dsoriano@meridian.es


The ICME Board has suggested that our Conference has one central theme, and three subsidiary themes. The Central theme is: FOLK ART, ETHNIC ART, FINE ART - categories and relations.

Most museums of ethnography do not explicitly exhibit art for art's sake, as they consider that a typical art museum's approach. At the same time, more and more museums of ethnography have gradually commenced to collect folk art and ethnic art, and we notice a trend in ethnography museums to make aesthetic presentations of their top-pieces, of their Fine Art collections. At the same time, we find artists, producing for art galleries and art collectors, with a background in ethnic or folk art, using their identity and their artistic heritage in a modern art world. Do we have to rethink our categories and reconsider the relations between them?

The ICME Board also suggests some subsidiary themes for our Conference. First of all, there is the theme of REPATRIATION OF OBJECTS OF CULTURAL HERITAGE TO THEIR COUNTRIES OR GROUPS OF ORIGIN. This theme was at the core of discussions in the ICOM General Conference in Melbourne in 1998 and we invite you to continue adding insight to this challenge. A closely related theme is ILLICIT TRAFFIC OF CULTURAL HERITAGE. We have to conclude that the 1970 UNESCO Convention has not really improved the situation in this field. Every day again archeological sites in poor countries are plundered. Museums, especially in Africa, are being robbed of their precious collections at an alarming rate. Can we, museum professionals from ethnographic museums all over the world, join hands in order to halt this illicit trafficking? Or are even museums still indirectly participating in this traffic?

A theme of a different category is MUSEUMS IN THE MULTICULTURAL SOCIETY. More and more museums in the West agree on the need to play a role in the multicultural society. But even if the good intention is there, the practical effects are often disappointing. You are invited to share your views and experiences with ICME members from other parts of the world. We also invite you to suggest papers on other topics.

Registration of papers

As is clear from the Conference's time schedule, only a limited number of speakers can be accomodated. We therefore request colleagues who plan to give a paper, to register at your earliest convenience. Late registration might mean that the maximum number of speakers has been reached and that there is no more opportunity for that paper to be delivered personally (the paper could be distributed during the conference). If all proposed papers cannot be presented, we reserve the right to give priority to some papers, according to their considered relevance.

How to register ?

In order to register, please, provide us with the following data:

Name (and academic title) .......................................................................................

Full address ..............................................................................................................

E-mail (or fax number) ............................................................................................

Title of the proposed paper .......................................................................................

Abstract of your paper ..............................................................................................

Will you read your paper in English? French? Spanish? (other languages are not allowed, sorry!)

Do you need special equipment (slides-projector or other)?

NB! THE TIME NEEDED TO READ YOUR PAPER SHOULD NOT EXCEED 12 MINUTES (in order to allow a few minutes for questions).


Dr. Harrie Leyten, secretary ICME, Reinwardt Academy

Dapperstraat 315, 1093 BS AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands

E-mail: h.leyten@mus.ahk.nl

Fax: +31 - 20 692 68 36 (31 is the entry code for The Netherlands; 20 is the area code for Amsterdam)


True to traditions ICME will arrange a post-conference tour. We start Saturday 7 July at 07.00 and return to Barcelona Monday July 9 at 22.00. The tour will bring us to the Pyrenees, to museums and monuments in Isona, Tremp, Pont de Claverol, Gerri de la Sal, Esterri d'Aneu, San Pere del Burgal and Viella. Don't despair if you cannot find the names on your map: The places, the museums and the monuments we are going to visit are like the ICME tours themselves: small, intimate, beautiful and specially suited to us. Most of the museums and monuments are dealing with aspects of life in the region, set in fabulous natural surroundings.

Unfortunately, the tour programme is not yet completed in all details. We will however send information as soon as possible to everyone indicating an interest in the tour. Therefore, if you want to know more, please contact:

Per B. Rekdal

The University Museums of Cultural Heritage

P.O.Box 6762 St. Olavs pl.

N-0130 Oslo, Norway

Tel. (-47) 22 85 99 64</dd><dd>Fax (-47) 22 85 99 60

E-mail: p.b.rekdal@ukm.uio.no

REPORTS FROM ICME 2000, Copenhagen, Denmark

Museums of ethnography met in Copenhagen

When ICME met in Mexico City in 1999, it decided to hold its Annual Conference 2000 in Copenhagen and tie in with the celebrations at the Museum of Ethnography. The Ethnographic Collection of the National Museum of Denmark, let us say the Museum of Ethnography in Copenhagen, exists 150 years and belongs to the oldest museums of ethnography in the world. It was a reason to bring directors, curators, and anthropologists from all over the world together for a major symposium entitled The World Mirrored. The Ethnographic Museum - Past, Present, and Future, which was also part of ICME yearly conference 2000. The symposium took place between May 19-21. Over 120 museum experts assembled for a thoroughly prepared meeting, with over 20 keynote addresses and papers, and with a sumptuous banquet on the closing night. A number of the papers will be published in Folk - Journal of the Danish Ethographic Society, vol 42, 2001 (address: Danish Ethnographic Society, National Museum, 12 Frederiksholms Kanal, DK-1220 Copenhagen K, Denmark, phone +45 3347 3222, fax : +45 3347 3320). A special word of thanks for Espen WŠhle, the editor of this ICME Newsletter and director of the museum for the outstanding performance by him and his staff.

Prior to the symposium some twenty ICME members, mostly from European museums of Ethnography, but with the surprising presence of Soroi Eoe, the Director of the National Museum in Port Moresby and one of his staff-members, met for a session called Diverse trends in ethnographic exhibitions. ICME had decided, analogous to the successful formula used during the 1997 Annual Meeting in Amsterdam, not to have elaborate sessions with papers and discussions, but instead to visit museums in Copenhagen and elsewhere and share impressions and opinions with each other and with staff members of the museums themselves.

We paid a visit to the David's Collection, a fine collection of Islamic art, privately owned, but now a museum collecting art objects for art's sake. The museum did not provide the visitor with much information on the object's religious or cultural or historic background. The next visit was to the City Museum, an interesting mix of fine objects relating to the history of Copenhagen and well designed, theatrical environments which gave us the feeling of going back into the past. A full day was spent on a trip into the hinterland. The Norwegians in the group ritually opened the excursion with flag-waving and a taste of Aquavit, the popular drink which was specially imported for the occasion (of course the Danish variety is not suited for such a ritual), so that all of us could join in for the celebrations of Constitution Day. Our first stop was at the Roskilde Museum where we were received by the director, Frank BirkebŠk. He explained why he had decided not to make an educational exhibit ("if I had done so, I would have underestimated the visitor who is quite capable of attaching a meaning to what he sees in the exhibit"). He had, however, worked very closely with artists who had advised him what colours to use on the walls, and who had introduced works of modern art, inspired by the objects in the exhibit, into the rooms. After a visit to the famous cathedral church, where the Danish kings and queens lie buried, we went to the North, where we visited the Stenstrup Museum where we were received by the director, Jan Steen Jacobsen, with an interesting vision on the role of rural, historical museums in society. A lovely, typically Danish dinner in the ancient Dragsholm Castle ended the day.

The next day was spent at the National Museum, the Etnographic Collection. The three main exhibitions, The World Mirrored, Eldorado - Indians of the Amazone and the Andes, and Peoples of the Earth, were introduced by their respective curators and other members staff. The first commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Museum's Ethnographic Collection. It tells the story of how the collection came into existence. It also wishes to recreate the same magic atmosphere that filled private collectors and professionals when they first saw the objects - a feeling of surprise, curiosity and fascination. The designer, Morten Schmidt from the architechtural firm Schmidt, Hammer & Lassen, produced a spectacular environment through wooden structures surfacing from underneath a glass floor (a bit scary, especially for elderly visitors) and reaching into a pitch dark, black ceiling, from which numerous spotlights as if they were stars in the sky, shed a mysterious light on the showcases. The museum-staff was very apologetic about the exhibit, felt victimized by the designer, who is Denmark's top architect, but had never before designed an exhibition. Indeed, basic mistakes had been made (too little room for texts, the wooden structures not solid, so that objects started to shift, objects not always visible), but the majority of the ICME members present felt overwhelmed by the experience and commended the museum for a superb exhibit.

ICME had a very successful conference. There was time for debate, for an exchange of experiences and views, and for renewing old acquaintances. There was also time for individual visits to some of the city's many, beautiful museums. ICME was also happy to join the symposium The World Mirrored.

Harrie Leyten, ICME Secretary


The annual meeting of the ICME Board took place at the National Museum in Copenhagen, on May 16, 2000. Present were: Per Rekdal, chairman, Harrie Leyten, secretary, Espen Waehle, editor / treasurer, Dolores Soriane (Barcelona), Soroi Eoe (Port Moresby), Damodar Frlan (Zagreb).

Per Rekdal opens the meeting and informs the Board that the organisers of the Conference in Mexico, October 1999, have published the proceedings (in Spanish) in their own publication. ICOM headquarters have given ICME an amount of 9.920 French Francs for the year 2000 as a subvention. The greater part of this amount will be needed for the publication and mailing of ICME News. The Board discussed suggestions as to the best way to utilize the remainder. It agreed on the necessity for ICME to have its own web-site, which should include the latest news of ICME itself, articles on current issues, discussions on specific topics, such as illicit traffic of cultural property. Per Rekdal will request one of his former staff members to produce a concept of such a web-site. This proposal will be presented to the Board for approval and for comments. Although many problems may be anticipated, the Board agreed to go ahead, but on a modest basis. Damodar Frlan, who is also a member of the Network of European Museums of Etnography (NET), suggested to establish a link between ICME and the NET. This could lead to interesting discussions and exchange of views.

ICME Conference 2002

After some deliberations the Board gave the green light to Per Rekdal to investigate the possibilities of organizing the 2002 ICME Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. The suggested themes: Museums and Local Communities; Role of Museums in Nation Building; Role of Museums in Tourism; How can African Museums communicate with their visitors and their societies?

ICME in Barcelona 2001

ICOM's next triennial Conference will be held in Barcelona, Spain, from Saturday June 30 until July 7, 2001, excluding the days needed for a post conference tour. Registration will be on June 30; the official opening on Sunday, July 1. The International Committees will meet on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, always in the mornings (with time for museum visits etc. in the afternoons). On Thursday there will be the general excursion; on Friday there will be the closing session, General Assembly. ICME's own business meeting (including the elections) will take place on Wednesday (probably in the late afternoon).

The overall theme of the ICOM Conference is "Managing Change: museums facing economic and social challenges". This does not particularly appeal to the ICME Board, so it decided to introduce a special theme for the ICME Sessions: The relationship between fine art, folk art and ethnic art. Not only does this theme provoke interesting discussions between anthropologists and art-historians in museums in the West, it will also raise questions about the role of museums of ethnography in the West on the one hand and National Museums in Africa, Asia and Latin America on the other. The next ICME Newsletter will not be out before November next. Dolores will find out about scholarships for ICME members from developing countries.

Dolores suggests that ICME organizes a three day post conference tour into the area, immediately bordering on the Pyrenees mountains, Esterri dĺAneu which has an open air museum, and other ancient villages in the neighbourhood. Dolores will find out about hotel-accomodation, fees, buses etcetra.

The 2004 ICOM General Conference will be held in Seoul, Korea. The theme will be: Intangible Heritage. Harrie will write an article in the next ICME Newsletter in view of next year's elections. The chairman closes the meeting at 19.00 hours.

Harrie Leyten, ICME Secretary

ICME Working Groups

The ICME meeting in Melbourne, October 1998 decided to launch two important working groups. The working groups are open for any ICME member and you are encouraged to enlist by contacting the chairman of the group!

Soroi M. Eoe,
Chairperson of the working group on Repatriation
Director National Museum and Art Gallery,
P.O. Box 5560, Boroko, Papua New Guinea,
tel: +(675)3252458, 3252422, fax: +(675)3251779
e-mail: pngmuseum@Global.net.pg

Per B. Rekdal,
Chairperson for working group on Multicultural Issues
The University Museums of Cultural Heritage
P.O.Box 6762, St. Olavs pl., N-0130 Oslo, Norway
tel: +47 22859961 fax: +47 22859960
e-mail:p.b.rekdal@ukm.uio.no, www.ukm.uio.no

Call for contributions

The next ICME Newsletter is scheduled to be published in late spring 2001, with the latest news on ICMEs conference during ICOM 2001 in Barcelona. Deadline for contributions: May 1st 2001! Individual ICME members are also encouraged to submit material for ICME News. The regional editors can hardly survey all important news and developments in their region. We hope to receive communications on forthcoming and recent conferences, publications, exhibitions, travelling exhibitions, multimedia releases and upcoming events. We would also like to receive suggestions for useful museum websites! All contributions should be sent to the editor. I must confess that I prefer e-mails, but will also accept diskettes, faxes and letters. For e-mail attachments and diskettes, please specify machine platform, word-processing programme and version (eg. Apple/Mac, Word 7.0)

ICME Board 1998- 2001

Per B. Rekdal, president, chairperson for working group on Multicultural Issues NB! NEW ADDRESS, TELEPHONE/FAX, MAIL and HTTP! The University Museums of Cultural Heritage P.O.Box 6762, St. Olavs pl., N-0130 Oslo, Norway tel: +47 22859961 fax: +47 22859960 e-mail:p.b.rekdal@ukm.uio.no, www.ukm.uio.no Soroi M. Eoe, chairperson of the working group on Repatriation Director National Museum and Art Gallery, P.O. Box 5560, Boroko, Papua New Guinea, tel: +6753252458, 3252422, fax: +6753251779, e-mail: pngmuseum@Global.net.pg Harrie Leyten, secretary The Amsterdam school of the arts, Reinwardt Academy/Museology Department, Dapperstraat 315, NL-1093 BS Amsterdam, The Netherlands, tel: +31206922111, fax: +31206926836, e-mail: h.leyten@mus.ahk.nl Espen WŠhle, chief editor of the Newsletter, correspondent for Europe, treasurer of ICME Head of Department, Ethnographic Collection, The National Museum of Denmark, 12, Frederiksholms Kanal, DK-1220 Copenhagen K, Denmark, tel.: +4533473206, 03, 04 fax.: +4533473320, e-mail: espen.waehle@natmus.dk www.natmus.dk Kalyan K. Chakravarty, correspondent for Asia, Indira Gandhi Rahtriya Manav Sangrhalaya, National museum of mankind, Post Bag no 2, Shamla Hills, Bhopal-462013, India, fax : +91755545458 or +91755542076, e-mail: igmsbpl@mp.nic.in Annette B. Fromm, correspondent for the Americas 3060 Alton Rd. Miami Beach, Florida 33140, USA tel: +13055323530 Jewish Museum of Florida, 301 Washington Ave.Miami Beach, Florida 33139, USA tel. work: +13056725044 ext. 19, fax: +13058936305, e-mail : annettefromm@looksmart.com Rivka Gonen, correspondent for the Middle East / Inner Mediterranean The Israel museum, Jerusalem, pob 71117, Jerusalem 81710, tel: +97226708811, fax: +97225631833, e-mail: rikago@imj.org.il Gaye Sculthorpe, correspondent for Oceania Director Indigenous Cultures Program Museum Victoria, GPO Box 666E, MELBOURNE VIC 3000, Australia tel: +61392912165, fax: +61392912150 e-mail: gsculth@mov.vic.gov.au www.mov.vic.gov.au Shaje Tshiluila, correspondent for Africa Universite de Kinshasa, B.P. 13933, Kinshasa I, Dem. Rep. Du Congo, tel: +2431260263, 60008, fax: c/o Justin Koumba, UNESCO +24312 or 188 43675, e-mail: chieze.icom@unesco.org Soroi M. Eoe, Chairperson of the working group on Repatriation Director National Museum and Art Gallery, P.O. Box 5560, Boroko, Papua New Guinea, tel: +(675)3252458, 3252422, fax: +(675)3251779, e-mail: pngmuseum@Global.net.pg Damodar Frlan, Director Ethnographic Museum, Mazuranicev trg 14, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia, tel: +38514550711, 4558544, fax: +38514558544, e-mail: damodar.frlan@public.srce.hr Dolores Soriano, contact person for ICME Barcelona 2001, Museu Etnol˛gic, Passeig Santa Madrona s/n, Parc de Montju´c 08038 Barcelona tel: +34934246402, 4246807, fax: +34934237364 e-mail: dsoriano@meridian.es NB! NEW E-MAIL! Emilia Vaillant, Direction des musees de France, Inspection Generale des musees, 6. Rue des Pyramides, F-75041 Paris CEDEX 01, tel.: +3340157300, fax: +3340153480

<h3>ICME account</h3>Details for money transfers to the ICME account:
Bank: Unibank
Address: 7. Nygade, DK-1164 Copenhagen K, Denmark
Registration number: 2103
Account number: 290015
Account name (must always be used): ICME 5836

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