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Narrating heritage's living stories : a comparative study of China's Suojia ecomuseum and Australia's Melbourne living museum of the West

Yi, Sabrina Hong 2012, Narrating heritage's living stories : a comparative study of China's Suojia ecomuseum and Australia's Melbourne living museum of the West, in SAHANZ 2012 : Fabulation : myth, nature, heritage. Proceedings of the 29th Society of Architectural Historians Australia & New Zealand Conference, SAHANZ, Launceston, Tas., pp. 1253-1275.

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Title Narrating heritage's living stories : a comparative study of China's Suojia ecomuseum and Australia's Melbourne living museum of the West
Author(s) Yi, Sabrina Hong
Conference name Society of Architectural Historians Australia & New Zealand. Conference (29th : 2012 : Launceston, Tasmania)
Conference location Launceston, Tasmania
Conference dates 5-8 Jul. 2012
Title of proceedings SAHANZ 2012 : Fabulation : myth, nature, heritage. Proceedings of the 29th Society of Architectural Historians Australia & New Zealand Conference
Editor(s) King, Stuart
Chatterjee, Anuradha
Loo, Stephen
Publication date 2012
Conference series Society of Architectural Historians Australia & New Zealand. Conference
Start page 1253
End page 1275
Total pages 23
Publisher SAHANZ
Place of publication Launceston, Tas.
Summary The Ecomusée, as emerged in France in the 1970s, is a form of open-air museum that aims to maintain collections in their original environments with local communities serving as curators and managing their own heritage. This approach and philosophy implies and is dependent upon democratic principles in the conservation and interpretation processes. Since the 1990s, China has adopted the ecomusée concept for the conservation of selected ethnic villages to relieve tensions between poverty and heritage conservation. However, does this concept really work in China? To answer this question, the Suojia Ecomuseum, the first such initiative - has been selected as a case study and assessed using the mixed methodologies of on-site observation, documentation and semistructured interviews. This process has identified several issues and problems associated with this ecomuseum. It demonstrates that Suojia Ecomuseum has not achieved international benchmarks, neither philosophical nor practical expectations have been met. This conclusion challenges the internationally acknowledged notion that all ecomuseums develop and are operated using a bottom-up approach, that they were all community-based and democratic. These discrepancies lead to other questions about the differences between ecomuseums in China and elsewhere. In order to map and compare the differences between ecomuseums in China and in Western democracies, a detailed survey was undertaken using Melbourne’s Living Museum of the West, Australia. Applying the same methodologies as in China, a comparable examination was undertaken as to its background, objectives, management structures, programs and activities, and project outcomes as well as problems. The differences between Suojia Ecomuseum and Melbourne’s Living Museum are then explained and shown. They demonstrate quite diverse organisations with different objectives and management structures relating to different cultural and natural resources. However, the unexpected finding was that the futures of both ecomuseums relied on the financial support and passion of younger generations and hence were vulnerable.
ISBN 9781862956582
Language eng
Field of Research 120501 Community Planning
Socio Economic Objective 950307 Conserving the Historic Environment
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
Copyright notice ©2012, Society of Architectural Historians Australia & New Zealand
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30049562

Document type: Conference Paper
Collections: School of Architecture and Built Environment
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.