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To what extent are Beth Shalom and the International Slavery Museum socially responsible heritage sites? Free essay! Download now

Home > University > History > To what extent are Beth Shalom and the International Slavery Museum socially responsible heritage sites?

To what extent are Beth Shalom and the International Slavery Museum socially responsible heritage sites?

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 3200 | Submitted: 30-Mar-2008
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In order to answer the above question it is important to explore what museums are actually for, what substance they have. The traditional role of both science and humanities museums has changed over the years.

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In order to answer the above question it is important to explore what museums are actually for, what substance they have. The traditional role of both science and humanities museums has changed over the years. Rather than focusing on preserving, studying and presenting their collections, museums may now be required to take on a variety of social functions, including social inclusion, lifelong learning and recognising group identities. What one begins to ask is, has taking on these tasks left museums overburdened and confused about their role? Can and should museums make people feel better and affirm their identity? Its seems from my own personal visits, that the museums right to retain or interpret artefacts from non-western societies has also been challenged. It makes me question other aspects of the work of museums such as who owns culture? What is the role of the curator, and who should decide what is collected in the future.

In the Times Online article What Are Museums For, Maurice Davies – deputy director of the Museums Association stated “museums ought no longer to consider it their primary duty to preserve their collections........their main job should be to engage audiences with evangelical zeal, taking their collections out of the galleries and storerooms and into hospitals and schools, letting them be experienced and enjoyed by as many people as possible”. Its is important for the general public to be more involved in its own culture and to discovers their roots to be precise their heritage. A further statement made by a former Labour arts minister Mark Fisher argues in his introduction to Britain's best museums and galleries that “there has in the last decade or so been a potentially disastrous shift in attitude among those responsible for governing our museums. Where once museums were valued as repositories of objects they are now increasingly judged not by what they are but by what they can achieve, by how effective they are as agents of social change”. (Delingpole. J 2006)
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