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Cultural Heritage


cultural heritage

Cultural heritage is a term used to describe the legacy of physical artifacts (cultural property) and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations. These are maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations.

Often considered the most important aspect of a country or region, culture is a dynamic and evolving expression of the way people live, think and do. It is an integral part of a society’s identity and its loss during conflict or disaster can be catastrophic.

A key question is how to protect and preserve the cultural heritage of a community, and what role government should play in this effort.

One option is to ensure that the local community has the means to maintain its own cultural heritage, through local preservation and restoration projects. This involves a wide range of experts, including conservators, architects, artists, chemists, engineers, geologists, historians and archaeologists.

Another possible strategy is to develop local and national programs to protect cultural heritage. This can be done through the work of governmental agencies, such as the government’s National Museum Service, or through nonprofit organizations dedicated to the preservation of intangible and physical cultural heritage.

The protection of cultural heritage is an increasingly important issue worldwide, with threats to the world’s most iconic sites and monuments on the rise. The recent worldwide debate over the removal of monuments associated with slavery and discrimination has helped to show that celebrated heritage can be both a source of privilege and an instrument of injustice.

It is also a vital component of any effort to promote the understanding and respect of diverse human cultures and their history. It is a key tool for fostering a sense of cultural identity and promoting social cohesion.

However, the protection of cultural heritage can be a complex and difficult process. It is often complicated by the relationship between private property and public ownership, the balance between individual and community rights, and a variety of other legal terminologies.

Economic issues are also sometimes raised when it comes to the economic value of cultural goods, particularly artifacts and historic buildings. These issues include how much people are willing to pay for the use or enjoyment of artifacts or buildings that belong to a different cultural group, and whether the collective consumption of cultural goods, such as an entire historic area, is worth more than the consumption of artifacts that are kept in isolation.

A third area of concern is the question of how to ensure that all aspects of a community’s cultural heritage are preserved, including small artifacts, oral traditions and historic buildings. This has led to the creation of international conventions and guidelines on preserving cultural heritage.

The UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted in 2003 and came into effect in 2006. This list includes a number of customs and practices, such as rumba dancing and human towers, that are unique to specific communities.