Matagorda County Museum Our Blog How to Preserve Cultural Heritage

How to Preserve Cultural Heritage

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Cultural heritage is a precious communal asset that depicts past human life and enhances solidarity and social integration of communities. It also provides an opportunity for economic and tourism development and promotes the sustainable development of a country. It is therefore essential to preserve cultural heritage for the future generations. However, preservation of cultural heritage is not an easy task as it faces many threats. These threats include: deterioration, damage and destruction due to natural and human factors. These include environmental factors such as water and air pollution; erosion of soil, land-slides, earthquakes, etc; human activities such as urbanization, developmental projects, agriculture, mining activities and unsustainable tourism. Moreover, some of the most valuable parts of cultural heritage such as historic fabrics, buildings and landscapes are under threat due to lack of resources to maintain them.

Cultural Heritage can be preserved and conserved through a number of means including: maintenance, conservation and restoration. Conservation involves maintaining the fabric of heritage in its existing state and retarding deterioration, whereas restoration refers to returning a heritage place to a known earlier state through removing accretions or reassembling the existing components without introducing new material.

Besides preservation, restoration and conservation, cultural heritage can be sustained by intangible means such as traditional craftsmanship, performances, oral history, linguistic and cultural traditions and beliefs, and representations. The UNESCO Convention on safeguarding intangible cultural heritage stipulates that the people who care for and manage cultural heritage are the primary stewards and guardians of it. However, the Convention also recognizes that if they are not properly supported by governments and institutions, it may be difficult for them to sustain their efforts.

Another issue faced by cultural heritage is that those who care for it are not experts in organizing and managing funds for long-term conservation. In addition, the younger generation is less interested in local culture. These issues can be overcome by developing collaboration between heritage custodians and those who are experts in organizing and managing funds for these purposes. Additionally, educating children about the value of cultural heritage is another way to keep it alive.

To start identifying your own cultural heritage, ask yourself if you’re from a specific ethnicity or religion and if there are any traditions you hold dear to your heart. Be sure to think about the values and traditions you feel connected to as well as any that don’t serve you well, such as cycles of abuse or false beliefs. Be brave and be the person in your family who teaches others how to break these negative cycles. Don’t let any of these things get in the way of your own happiness.