文化遺産国際協力コンソーシアム Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage JCIC-Heritage logo JCIC-Heritage

International cooperation and training at the National Museum of Ethnology and Lake Biwa Museum JICA group and region-focused “Comprehensive Museology”

International cooperation and training at the National Museum of Ethnology and Lake Biwa Museum JICA group and region-focused “Comprehensive Museology”

National Museum of Ethnology

Worldwide

Not specific

2012-2015 Human Resource Development
01/04/2014
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BACKGROUND

Background of implementing the“Comprehensive Museology Course”

Human resource development for museums in developing countries and regions

In many developing countries and regions, the culture and natural heritage of the country/region are gradually being lost without proper protection, due to top priorities being placed on development and economic growth. Under such a situation, museums play an important role in establishing national and ethnic identity by collecting, conserving and displaying cultural heritage, and introducing the region’s culture to the world. It is also a fact that museums contribute to regional economic growth as a cornerstone of tourism promotion. Moreover, they serve as educational facilities and centers of post-war or post-disaster reconstruction. Nevertheless, few institutions in the world provided comprehensive training in the theory and practice of museology.


Predecessors of the “Comprehensive Museology Course”

The National Museum of Ethnology, along with Lake Biwa Museum, plans, operates and supervises a museology course as a three-year project that began in fiscal 2012 under commission by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It is a course that provides practical skills specifically to manage museum operations. Compared to the predecessor course, “Intensive Course on Museology” (FY2004 – 2011), it is more strongly linked to tourism-related programs from multiple countries. Prior to these course, a “Museum Management Technology (Collection, Conservation, Exhibition) Course” was offered from fiscal 1994 to 2003 mainly by the National Museum of Ethnology under the sponsorship of JICA, with the aim of developing leaders in museum management and operations who can contribute to promoting tourism and creating a foundation for education and culture from a broad perspective.

Participants of the Museology course (1994 to 2013)

Participants of the fiscal 2013 JICA museology course

ACTIVITIES

Overview of the “Comprehensive Museology Course”

Course objective and eligibility

The museology course aims to provide practical skills that are necessary for museum operations, including acquisition, documentation, conservation, exhibition planning and museum education, and to develop personnel who can actively contribute to cultural promotion in developing countries through museums. Eligible participants are experts of museum activities who have more than three years’ practical experience in acquisition, documentation, conservation, exhibition planning, museum education and other related fields, and who have received government nomination of their country. The positions are open for university graduates or those who have equivalent academic qualification, and are over 25 and under 46 years of age, in principle. Proficiency in English conversation, reading and writing is also a requirement. Fiscal 2013 participants included ten members from Armenia, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Palestine, Peru and Myanmar.

Training program

The course consists of a General Program (approx. 10 weeks) composed of lectures, practical training and study tour related to museum activities as a whole, and a Specialized Program (3 weeks) in which a different theme is selected every week. Selected themes for fiscal 2013 were “Preventive preservation,” “Exhibition design,” and “photography” for the first week, “Conservation and restoration of the objects,” “Museums and local communities,” and “Filming” for the second week, and “Excavating and controlling archaeological resources,” “Management of a local history museum,” and “Documentation and databases” for the third week. Participants have an opportunity to give a presentation on museum situations in their own country (Museum Report, Public Forum) or their areas of specialty (Specialty Report), and are expected to engage in mutual interaction through discussions.

Lake Biwa Museum (Shiga prefecture)

Practical module of the General Program (Lake Biwa Museum, fiscal 2013)

RESULTS

New developments in international cooperation and training

International network

National Museum of Ethnology has more than 60 researchers who conduct field surveys throughout the world. Through these researchers, the museum has accumulated a wealth of research and information in various countries and regions, and provides an environment conducive to building sustainable cooperative relationships. Over a period of 20 years from 1994, museology-related courses offered by the museum have developed an international network of some 206 participants and observers in 55 countries. Among these countries, domestic networks created by past participants have also emerged, of which some of those play a central leadership positions in museology and museum activities in their countries. Through mutual cooperation among museums, a foundation is gradually emerging for promoting international exchanges and new developments.

“New Horizons in Asian Museums and Museology”

As a new international network initiative, National Museum of Ethnology is implementing a project on “New Horizons in Asian Museums and Museology” (funded by the Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS); Core-to-core Program B: Asia Africa Science Platform) under a three-year plan from fiscal 2012. The project pursues educational research on museology in Thailand, Myanmar and Mongolia with the cooperation of past participants and experts who play a central role in museum activities in their countries. It aims to create new museology and museum research befitting Asia’s cultural and social background and establish a foundation for voluntary and sustainable museum activities and human resource development in these countries. A joint workshop and public seminar have been held in Mongolia in fiscal 2012 and in Myanmar in September 2013.

Presentation of Specialty Report and discussion (National Museum of Ethnology, fiscal 2013)

Public Forum “Museums in the World 2013” (National Museum of Ethnology, 25 May 2013)

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