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This article is concerned with cultural resources in the widest sense: for traditional, archaeological and historic culture specifically see Cultural Heritage Management

In the broadest sense, Cultural Resources Management (CRM) is the vocation and practice of managing cultural resources, such as the arts and heritage. It incorporates Cultural Heritage Management which is concerned with traditional and historic culture and the material culture of archaeology. Cultural resources management encompasses current culture, including progressive and innovative culture, such as urban culture, rather than simply attempting to preserve and present traditional forms of culture.

However, the broad usage of the term is relatively recent and as a result it is most often used as synonymous with heritage management. In the United States, cultural resources management is not usually divorced from the heritage context. The term is "used mostly by archaeologists and much more occasionally by architectural historians and historical architects, to refer to managing historic places of archaeological, architectural, and historical interests and considering such places in compliance with environmental and historic preservation laws." [1]

Cultural resources include both physical assets such as archaeology, architecture, paintings and sculptures and also intangible culture such as folklore and interpretative arts, such as storytelling and drama[2]. Cultural resource managers are typically in charge of museums, galleries, theatres etc., especially those that emphasise culture specific to the local region or ethnic group. Cultural tourism is a significant sector of the tourism industry.

At a national and international level, cultural resource management may be concerned with larger themes, such as languages in danger of extinction, public education, the ethos or operation of multiculturalism and promoting access to cultural resources. The Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity is an attempt by the United Nations to identify exemplars of intangible culture.

Contents

Cultural resources management applied to heritage management

Main article Cultural Heritage Management

Cultural resources management in the heritage context is mainly concerned with the investigation of sites with archaeological potential, the preservation and interpretation of historic sites and artifacts and the culture of indigenous people. The subject developed from initiatives in rescue archaeology, sensitivities to the treatment of indigenous people and subsequent legislation to protect cultural heritage.

In the 1970s, archaeologists created the term "cultural resource management" as a parallel to natural resource management to address the following resources:[3]

  • Historic properties (as listed or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places)
  • Older properties that may have cultural value, but may or may not be eligible for the National Register
  • Historic properties that have cultural value beyond their historicity
  • Native American graves and cultural items
  • Shipwrecks
  • Museum collections
  • Historical documents
  • Religious sites
  • Religious practices
  • Cultural use of natural resources
  • Folklife, tradition, and other social institutions
  • Theater groups, orchestras, and other community cultural amenities

A significant proportion of the archaeological investigation in countries that have heritage management legislation including the USA and UK is conducted on sites under threat of development. In the US, most such investigations are now done by private companies on a consulting basis,[4] and a national organization exists to support the practice of CRM.[5] Museums, besides being popular tourist attractions, often play roles in conservation of, and research on, threatened sites, including as repositories for collections from sites slated for destruction.

National Register Eligibility

In the US, one common task in Cultural Resource Management is to determine whether specific properties are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (National Register of Historic Places). There are four criteria for determining eligibility. Broadly speaking, the criteria examine whether the property:

  • is associated with broad patterns of the past (criterion "a"), for example, a farm house that was part of the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves;
  • is associated with historically important persons (criterion "b"), for example, Monticello being associated with Thomas Jefferson;
  • is an example of historically important design or artistic merit (criterion "c"), for example, a through truss highway bridge; or
  • has the potential to yield important information on prehistory or history (criterion "d"), for example, an archaeological site that can yield information about prehistoric Native American lifeways.

When properties are not eligible by themselves, they may be eligible collectively (as a historic district). The National Register criteria assume great importance in the US because any location deemed to meet one or more of these criteria is usually treated more carefully than a location that is not deemed to meet any of these locations.

Management of cultural organizations

The vocation of management in cultural and creative organizations is the subject of research and improvement initiatives, by organizations such as Arts and Business which take a partnership approach to involving professional business people in running and mentoring arts organizations. Some universities[6][7] now offer vocational degrees.

The management of cultural heritage is underpinned by academic research in archaeology, ethnography and history. The broader subject is also underpinned by research in sociology and culture studies.

Cultural tourism

Main article Cultural tourism

Recreational travel to experience different cultures has occurred throughout history, exemplified by the Grand Tour which was enjoyed by young aristrocrats from the 17th Century. Cultural tourism, including Heritage tourism is a growth part of the tourism industry.

Cultural anthropology

Main article Cultural anthropology

Understanding the traditional cultures of all peoples (Indigenous or not) is essential in mitigating the adverse impact of development and ensuring that intervention by more developed nations is not prejudicial to the interests of local people or results in the extinction of cultural resources.

Cultural resources policies

Cultural resources policies have developed over time with the recognition of the economic and social importance of heritage and other cultural assets[8].

The exploitation of cultural resources can be controversial, particularly where the finite cultural heritage resources of developing countries are exported to satisfy the demand for antiquities market in the developed world. The exploitation of the potential intellectual property of traditional remedies in identifying candidates for new drugs has also been controversial. On the other hand, traditional crafts can be important elements of income from tourism, performance of traditional dances and music is popular with tourists and traditional designs can be exploited in the fashion industry. Popular culture can also be an important economic asset.

See also

Notes

References

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Further reading

  • Thomas F. King, Cultural Resource Laws & Practice: An Introductory Guide' (3rd Edition) Altamira Press, 2008, 428 pages, ISBN 978-0-7591-1188-2 (cloth); 0-978-0-7591-1189-9 (paper)
  • Peter Howard, "Heritage: Management, Interpretation, Identity" Continuum Press, 2003, 278 pages, ISBN 0-8264-5897-1 (cloth); 0-8264-5898-X (paper)

External links


This article is concerned with cultural resources in the widest sense: for traditional, archaeological and historic culture specifically see Cultural Heritage Management

In the broadest sense, Cultural Resources Management (CRM) is the vocation and practice of managing cultural resources, such as the arts and heritage. It incorporates Cultural Heritage Management which is concerned with traditional and historic culture and the material culture of archaeology. Cultural resources management encompasses current culture, including progressive and innovative culture, such as urban culture, rather than simply attempting to preserve and present traditional forms of culture.

However, the broad usage of the term is relatively recent and as a result it is most often used as synonymous with heritage management. In the United States, cultural resources management is not usually divorced from the heritage context. The term is "used mostly by archaeologists and much more occasionally by architectural historians and historical architects, to refer to managing historic places of archaeological, architectural, and historical interests and considering such places in compliance with environmental and historic preservation laws." [1]

Cultural resources include both physical assets such as archaeology, architecture, paintings and sculptures and also intangible culture such as folklore and interpretative arts, such as storytelling and drama[2]. Cultural resource managers are typically in charge of museums, galleries, theatres etc., especially those that emphasise culture specific to the local region or ethnic group. Cultural tourism is a significant sector of the tourism industry.

At a national and international level, cultural resource management may be concerned with larger themes, such as languages in danger of extinction, public education, the ethos or operation of multiculturalism and promoting access to cultural resources. The Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity is an attempt by the United Nations to identify exemplars of intangible culture.

Contents

Cultural resources management applied to heritage management

Main article Cultural Heritage Management

Cultural resources management in the heritage context is mainly concerned with the investigation of sites with archaeological potential, the preservation and interpretation of historic sites and artifacts and the culture of indigenous people. The subject developed from initiatives in rescue archaeology, sensitivities to the treatment of indigenous people and subsequent legislation to protect cultural heritage.

In the 1970s, archaeologists created the term "cultural resource management" as a parallel to natural resource management to address the following resources:[3]

  • Historic properties (as listed or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places)
  • Older properties that may have cultural value, but may or may not be eligible for the National Register
  • Historic properties that have cultural value beyond their historicity
  • Native American graves and cultural items
  • Shipwrecks
  • Museum collections
  • Historical documents
  • Religious sites
  • Religious practices
  • Cultural use of natural resources
  • Folklife, tradition, and other social institutions
  • Theater groups, orchestras, and other community cultural amenities


A significant proportion of the archaeological investigation in countries that have heritage management legislation including the USA and UK is conducted on sites under threat of development. In the US, most such investigations are now done by private companies on a consulting basis,[4] and a national organization exists to support the practice of CRM.[5] Museums, besides being popular tourist attractions, often play roles in conservation of, and research on, threatened sites, including as repositories for collections from sites slated for destruction.

National Register Eligibility

In the US, one common task in Cultural Resource Management is to determine whether specific properties are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (National Register of Historic Places). There are four criteria for determining eligibility. Broadly speaking, the criteria examine whether the property:

  • is associated with broad patterns of the past (criterion "a"), for example, a farm house that was part of the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves;
  • is associated with historically important persons (criterion "b"), for example, Monticello being associated with Thomas Jefferson;
  • is an example of historically important design or artistic merit (criterion "c"), for example, a through truss highway bridge; or
  • has the potential to yield important information on prehistory or history (criterion "d"), for example, an archaeological site that can yield information about prehistoric Native American lifeways.

When properties are not eligible by themselves, they may be eligible collectively (as a historic district). The National Register criteria assume great importance in the US because any location deemed to meet one or more of these criteria is usually treated more carefully than a location that is not deemed to meet any of these locations.

Management of cultural organizations

The vocation of management in cultural and creative organizations is the subject of research and improvement initiatives, by organizations such as Arts and Business which take a partnership approach to involving professional business people in running and mentoring arts organizations. Some universities[6][7] now offer vocational degrees.

The management of cultural heritage is underpinned by academic research in archaeology, ethnography and history. The broader subject is also underpinned by research in sociology and culture studies.

Cultural tourism

Main article Cultural tourism

Recreational travel to experience different cultures has occurred throughout history, exemplified by the Grand Tour which was enjoyed by young aristrocrats from the 17th Century. Cultural tourism, including Heritage tourism is a growth part of the tourism industry.

Cultural anthropology

Main article Cultural anthropology

Understanding the traditional cultures of all peoples (Indigenous or not) is essential in mitigating the adverse impact of development and ensuring that intervention by more developed nations is not prejudicial to the interests of local people or results in the extinction of cultural resources.

Cultural resources policies

Cultural resources policies have developed over time with the recognition of the economic and social importance of heritage and other cultural assets[8].

The exploitation of cultural resources can be controversial, particularly where the finite cultural heritage resources of developing countries are exported to satisfy the demand for antiquities market in the developed world. The exploitation of the potential intellectual property of traditional remedies in identifying candidates for new drugs has also been controversial. On the other hand, traditional crafts can be important elements of income from tourism, performance of traditional dances and music is popular with tourists and traditional designs can be exploited in the fashion industry. Popular culture can also be an important economic asset.

See also

Notes

References

Further reading

  • Thomas F. King, Cultural Resource Laws & Practice: An Introductory Guide' (3rd Edition) Altamira Press, 2008, 428 pages, ISBN 978-0-7591-1188-2 (cloth); 0-978-0-7591-1189-9 (paper)
  • Peter Howard, "Heritage: Management, Interpretation, Identity" Continuum Press, 2003, 278 pages, ISBN 0-8264-5897-1 (cloth); 0-8264-5898-X (paper)

External links


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