Museums, Ethics and Cultural Heritage: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Museums, Ethics and Cultural Heritage

1st Edition

Edited by ICOM


410 pages

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This volume provides an unparalleled exploration of ethics and museum practice, considering the controversies and debates which surround key issues such as provenance, ownership, cultural identity, environmental sustainability and social engagement. Using a variety of case studies which reflect the internal realities and daily activities of museums as they address these issues, from exhibition content and museum research to education, accountability and new technologies, Museums, Ethics and Cultural Heritage enables a greater understanding of the role of museums as complex and multifaceted institutions of cultural production, identity-formation and heritage preservation.

Benefitting from ICOM’s unique position in the museum world, this collection brings a global range of academics and professionals together to examine museums ethics from multiple perspectives. Providing a more complete picture of the diverse activities now carried out by museums, Museums, Ethics and Cultural Heritage will appeal to practitioners, academics and students alike.

Table of Contents


i ICOM Turns 70: Ethics and the Value Creation Role of Museums

Hans-Martin Hinz

ii The role of museums in the twenty-first century

Anne Catherine Robert-Hauglustaine

iii The Work of the ICOM Ethics Committee

Martin Schärer

iv Introduction

Bernice L Murphy

PART I: Museums and ethics, the ICOM Code, and evolving standards for museums’ heritage care and social commitment

1 ICOM’s present Code: ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums (2004)

Geoffrey Lewis

2 Ethical Issues and Standards for Natural History Museums

Eric Dorfman

3 Reversing the De-realisation of Natural and Social Phenomena: Ethical Issues for Museums in a Multidisciplinary Context

Michel Van-Praët

PART II: International Action on Protection of the World’s Cultural Heritage and Biosphere

4 UNESCO’s Actions and International Standards for Museums

Mechtild Rossler, and Nao Hayashi

5 The UNESCO Recommendation on the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and Role in Society

François Mairesse

6 Protecting Cultural Heritage at Risk: an International Public Service Mission for ICOM

France Desmarais

7 Dances with Intellectual Property: Museums, Monetization and Digitization

Rina Pantalony

8 Stolen and Illegally Exported Artifacts in Collections: Key Issues for Museums within a Legal Framework

Marilyn Phelan

9 Advice and Support in the Recovery of Lost Art : The Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste Michael Franz

PART III: Heritage Care and Ethics Through the Lens of Multiple Cultures and Regions

10 Unchanging Ethics in a Changing World

Gary Edson

11 New Models of Shared Heritage and Collection Access: Museum Island and Humboldt Forum in Berlin

Herman Parzinger

12 A Museum Triangle: Ethics, Standards of Care, and the Pleasure of Perception

Dorota Folga- Januszewska

13 The Odyssey of Nature and Science Museums from Apollo to the Anthropocene

Emlyn Koster

14 The Chinese Museum: Transformation and Change through Ethics Construction

An Laishun

15 Ethics, Museology and Professional Training in Japan

Eiji Mizushima

PART IV: Provenance research, evolving issues and new directions across a changing landscape for collections

16 Advocating for International Collaborations: WWII-era Provenance Research in Museums Jane Milosch

17 ‘Definitely Stolen?’: Why There Is No Alternative to Provenance Research in Archaeological Museums

Markus Hilgert

18 Deaccessioning: some reflections

François Mairesse

19 Ethics in a Changing Social Landscape: Community Engagement and Public Participation in Museums.

Sally Yerkovitch

20 Conservation – How Ethics Work in Practice

Stephanie de Roemer

PART V: ‘Torn History’, Reshaping an Integrated Heritage, and Repatriation Issues

21 Using the Past to Forge a Future: Challenges of Uniting a Nation against Skeletal Odds Bongani Ndhlovu

22 Exhibiting Contentious and Difficult Histories: Ethics, Emotions and Reflexivity

Sharon Macdonald

23 Native America in the Twenty-First Century: Journeys in Cultural Governance and Museum Interpretation

W. Richard West, Jr.

24 Afro-descendent Heritage and its Unacknowledged Legacy in Latin American Museum Representation

Monica Gorgas

25 In Search of the Inclusive Museum

Amareswar Galla

PART VI: Case-Studies, Ethical Dilemmas and Ethics-in-Action

26 The Lombroso Museum in Turin: A Reflection on the Exhibition and Scientific Study of Human Remains

Alberto Garlandini & Stefano Montaldo

27 The Auschwitz-Birkenow Museum and a Claim to Portraits of Holocaust Victims Made by Artist Dinah Gottliebová Babitt

Vojtěch Blodig

28 The Mask of Ka-nefer-nefer

Regine Schulz

29 Ethics versus Law: The restitution of The Miracle of St Anthony by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Aedín MacDevitt

30 Ethics in Action: Situational Scenarios Turning the Keys to the Code of Ethics

Eva Maehre Lauritzen

About the Editor

Bernice L. Murphy is the former National Director, Museums Australia (Canberra), and Chair of the ICOM Ethics Committee from 2005-2011. She is also former Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (1984–2008). She served nine years (six as Vice-President) on the International Council of Museums Executive Council (1995–2004). She has published since the 1970s on exhibitions, art museums and contemporary art (including Indigenous art) and is the current editor of Museums Australia magazine.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology