Accepted Paper:

Collaborating with the source community  


Atsunori Ito (National Museum of Ethnology, Japan)

Paper Short Abstract:

In 2009, the director of the Zuni Museum visited Minpaku to undertake collection review. The purpose of this paper is to report on that project, and to examine the further possibilities for collaborative management between the ethnological museum and the source community.

Paper long abstract:

Since its inception (1974), the National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) has collected ethnographic artifacts. The current collection includes 335,000 artifacts and 70,000 audiovisual items.

In 2012, Minpaku exchanged an academic agreement with the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center (Zuni Museum), USA. The director of the Zuni Museum has visited Minpaku to do collection review. He pointed out some misrepresentations in the catalog description, and instructed proper conservation way in accordance with Zuni cultural context. Also we did retrospective survey on the maker and copyright holder of Zuni materials. Those collaborative researches were fruitful results for us because we could re-collect deeper knowledge and information concerning the objects. Besides, it was fruitful result for them that they could figure out the existence, number, storage situation, catalog description, and engaged in the process of collection management in the oversea museum.

Recently ethnological museums have been made requests on the information sharing by the people of source community. Minpaku is preparing for the info-forum virtual museum project to promote interactive and reciprocal utilization about the ethnographic materials among people of the source community, the local collecting institutions, and Minpaku to meet such a demand.

Minpaku has offered the idea "the museum as a forum" as a basic policy of the exhibition activity since 2001. Means we aim for space forming for dialogue among the triadic relationship; displayer, displayed, and viewers. We can say that the ongoing Minpaku project put that idea into the collection information management activity.

Panel P094
Re-imagining ethnological museums: new approaches to developing the museum as a place of multi-lateral contacts and knowledge (Commission on Museums and Cultural Heritage)