Assignment #2 – Week of May 11

Dear Division 16,

Great work at the Museum of Anthropology yesterday!  I’ve been thinking about the role of museums in our society, and I did a bit of reading.  It turns out that many museums belong to the International Council of Museums.  You can learn more about them on their website here: http://icom.museum/

Museums, as part of “The World Museum Community”, commit to a code of ethics that help guide their work.  Here is part of their Code of Ethics:

1. Museums preserve, interpret and promote the natural and cultural inheritance of humanity

2. Museums that maintain collections hold them in trust for the benefit of society and its development

3. Museums hold primary evidence for establishing and furthering knowledge

4. Museums provide opportunities for the appreciation, understanding and promotion of the natural and cultural heritage

5. Museums hold resources that provide opportunities for other public services and benefits

6. Museums work in close collaboration with the communities from which their collections originate as well as those they serve

For your blog homework tonight, please choose one or more of these ethical practices that museums commit to as part of the International Council of Museums, and answer the following question:

Why do you think this ethical practice is important for museums to commit to?  Give one example of how museums could achieve that ethical goal and explain how that would look in our particular community.  If you saw an example of it yesterday, please use that in your response.

I look forward to your responses!

29 comments

  1. gigatool2_is_a_girl

    3#. What I learn from there was a little bit but not a lot, I didn’t really understand anything I saw there. I didn’t build any information on The hanging garden of babylon, what I saw a read was totem pOle and that looks of dagger and puppets and More! But I did build on a little of the people that build houses, swords and lots more. I didn’t really in joy it but I had a little fun.😁

    • ST Carl

      I’m glad you kept an open mind during our visit to the museum and saw some interesting artifacts. I’m sure you are not the only one puzzled by some of the items found in the museum. Some of the items may have been found or donated without any knowledge of their use, but we can make inferences and search for connections about their use to create a history.

  2. coolschoolscout

    #5. I think that a museum is a place that gives many people opportunities, like jobs, education, and a place to learn about our past. Not only do museums have priceless artefacts and models, but they also have a safe place for people to go. This is what I respect about museums. A museum is also a place for people young and old to enjoy having an opportunity to understand past issues and creation.

    • ST Carl

      Solid points coolschoolscout. I like how you pointed out that museums are safe places to go. I’m not sure if you mean it in the sense there is a lot of security to protect the artefacts and models, or that it is a welcoming area that is peaceful because the people who are there are interested in learning and pay their respects to following protocols within the environment.

  3. balloongirl123

    3 What I learned was a’lot.I get to learn how to make a bracelet and I get to read a’lot of information which I did not know. In the museum and we got to learn about different rocks and stuff and in front of us we had a sheet of paper and we had to look at the rocks that what it is made of and how was made so that was something I did not know but it was really fun.

    • ST Carl

      I’m glad you were able to learn a lot and have fun at the same time! There was a lot of information to be told from the countless amounts of items found at the museum, and it will continue to grow as new pieces are found and added.

  4. vid3o g@m3r

    3# I think that one of the main purposes of a museum is to provide information. It is important that all museums commit to this or else: Why would you go to a museum? Okay, museums don’t have to only provide info, but it is important that they do it, or else it wouldn’t be interesting.

    • ST Carl

      Do you think the way that museums present the information is important in making it more interesting and compelling to attract visitors?

  5. Scarletcat

    #4 I think that this ethical practise is really important to commit to because it promotes learning about culture and heritage that can be passed on for generations to come. Museums can achieve this goal by making fun and entriguing exhibits that interest and earn the respect and appreciation of people. In our community that ethnic practise would be a great way to learn more about our heritage community. It would also help us be respectful and appreciative of our elders and the stories of their past. I for sure saw most of our class at least learn something from the museum and our class was very respectful of the exhibits of art. I know that I learned lots of things about totem poles that I wouldn’t have learned without the museum.

    • ST Carl

      I am glad that museums offer offer a respectful and approachable way to learn about different cultures and history by following ethical guidelines. As you say Scarletcat, it allows us to be aware of our community heritage, and lets us be more respectful and thankful of our opportunity to live here.

  6. fireboltseer21345

    6. (Museums work in close collaboration with the communities from which their collections originate as well as those they serve)
    I think it’s important to do that because if not, the people may feel that the object is not the museum’s to take or that it belongs where it was found, but if the museums included the community in putting it in the museum or having conversations about where it came from and letting them help make decisions then the community might feel more like the museum and them are working together instead of against. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 ❤ 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • ST Carl

      I like your reasoning behind this ethical code, fireboltseer21345. I agree it gives the museums more credibility if they work corroboratively, and I think it gives each museum its own distinct flair, being able to differentiate it from other museums.

  7. Subway2go

    I think that is important to establish and further our knowledge because we may not be as good at fishing or hunting as our ancestors. If we research the past we will be able to improve methods, we have now. Back then, people didn’t have supermarkets or restaurants so they had to hunt for their food, with museums help we would be able to study how to hunt better, and use more effective methods such as tracking, stalking, and ohter tactics.

    • dickensdiv16

      Ah, Subway2go, you’ve hit on a new point here – that museums are also a way for us to pass on knowledge about concrete things like skills! I see how you’re bringing the learning from the workshop to this blog post and I like it!

  8. petrinied4000

    #2 I think that many museums don’t hold collections and artifacts for no reason. I am pretty sure that all museums are there for people to see and learn about the past. In the museum of Anthropology, all the artifacts and totem poles are there for people to learn from and examine. Most of them even have descriptions. I think that a museum isn’t a museum if it stores the artifacts instead of presenting them and all the museums I’ve been to have done a very good job of presenting. Number 2 is probably the most practiced ethic.

    • dickensdiv16

      True! A private museum wouldn’t be much of a museum at all. I agree that museums don’t exist for no reason, but I wonder if different museums might articulate different reasons for their existence. Do you think that the way a museum presents artifacts makes a difference?

  9. Ginger

    6. Museums work in close collaboration with the communities from which their collections originate as well as those they serve. I think that this ethical practice is important because the descendents of the owners of the artifacts might be unsettled about how their family’s heirlooms are being treated and displayed. This practice ensures that the artifact has the right label, the right story, and is attributed to the correct owner. I think that if museums had a specialized employee whose job it was to find the ancestors of the original owner and ask about the history of it we could have a much more accurate story. When we were at the museum, most displays had a picture or story describing the artifact in detail. This information made it much easier for me to understand the history.

    • ST Carl

      Great insight into why it would be important for museums to work with the communities from which their collections originate as well as those they serve! I think it is one of the strengths of the MoA to be able to tell the stories behind their exhibits because of the strong oral history of passing down knowledge of the First Nations people.

  10. cheese curds

    #3. I think that ancient artifacts should be taken to a museum because if you just leave them outside they will be destroyed. If you take a totem pole and leave it in the forest, 10 years from now there will be termites in it and it will be rotten. If you don’t move this totem pole inside to a museum, then history will be lost. Nobody will be able to learn from it. If you leave artifacts where they are they will remain a mystery. but if you take it to a museum people can bathe in its history.

    • dickensdiv16

      True, cheese curds. There is an aspect of preservation and, in some cases, restoration that happens in a museum. I like how you’re bringing the lessons from the workshop to your post! It’s true that for us here on the West Coast, decay is a serious risk to artifacts like totem poles, given our climate and the organic nature of the art. Do you think that all historical artifacts are at the same kind of risk?

  11. coolsketcher

    #2 because it’s very important to keep our art/ collections for as long as we can because it’s ancient and these artifacts show how the ancient civilizations lived and survived long long ago, but people in countries like Iraq, Syria and Egypt have such bad governments (or maybe they have no governments?) that they don’t have any security over there museums and they are getting looted or destroyed even, museums could achieve that goal bye having better security over there museums.

    • dickensdiv16

      Love how you’re connecting the importance of museums to the political and social context in different countries around the world. It’s true that some places (or times, or people) may value art differently at different times, and that some art is very very valuable. I think it’s an important responsibility for museums to be serious about protecting the artistic legacy of previous generations.

  12. Jr.fruitcake

    #6
    I think that this is an ethical practise that is very important because it keeps both the peoples who’s culture the artifacts came from. This prevents disputes about things like the way artifacts are represented (it could be disrespectful without us knowing so). It also shows that we are caring and respectful about the things that we put in the museums and that we do care about more than the tourist attraction. I think that a good example of that would be if a totem pole in a museum is represented in the wrong way and the museum were given this feedback then the museum in question would change the representation to accommodate the culture’s needs.

    • dickensdiv16

      You’re right, Jr. Fruitcake, the way that artifacts are represented is super important. I hope that all museums would consult with the civilization that the art reflects to ensure that it is done respectfully. What do you think a museum could do if consultation was not possible?

  13. PointyHedgeHog11

    #2 I think it is supremely important for museums to maintain collections .
    I prevents us from repeating mistakes we made in the past and encourages us to progress.
    We don’t want to repeat things like residential school and becouse museums retain items and information from those times we will not repeat it .

    • dickensdiv16

      Excellent point, PointyHedgeHog11. You’re connecting this assignment to our earlier discussions about the past, and how historical buildings / images / artifacts help us to remember both positive and negative historical events. I appreciate you thinking about the responsibility of individuals along with the responsibility of museums. It’s very important!

  14. Cheeseman ABC 123

    2# i think it is very important for all museums to maintain a collection.
    it helps us not make the very same mistake as a collection is on so we can progress and keep moving forward in what we know .we will also be able to know how this culture or civilization did this something that totally evolved there civilization.

    • dickensdiv16

      I agree, Cheeseman ABC123. There are a number of ways that civilizations advance and artifacts give us clues to those advancements and the events that surround them. This makes me think of the “detective” nature of Archeological work.

  15. Theawesomest

    I think that #3 is very important because it is very important to learn about history and the land that you live on. I think a way to achieve that goal is to get artifacts from the history and culture of people who lived there or live their now.

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