Handbook of Cultural and Heritage Management


2.2. What is Cultural Heritage Management?

Defining Heritage Management

Heritage Management is a field that engages with the identification, excavation, recording, documentation, protection, conservation, restoration, interpretation, enhancement and promotion, presentation, dissemination of cultural heritage for the sake of present and future generations. (ICAHM Charter 1990; Elia & Ostovich, 2011).

The field emerged in the 1970s as a response to the growing need for professionalization, efficient protection and presentation of cultural heritage and opening up to the public. Yet, immediately after World War II and even before, museums, cultural organisations and academics got inspired by the field of management and marketing to address their needs. Nowadays, organizations and institutions, public or private, local, regional, national or international are borrowing ideas from the disciplines of finance, management and

marketing and endeavour to establish them in a very competitive world, yet without losing contact with the content of culture and heritage.

Defining Cultural Heritage

Defining Cultural Heritage is a difficult task. Through the decades the concept has become more and more inclusive and broad. Nowadays, the term cultural heritage includes not only tangible resources, but also intangible. Intangible heritage (UNESCO 2003 https://ich.unesco.org/en/what-is-intangible-heritage-00003

) is about “traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts”. Tangible heritage encompasses immovable cultural heritage such as monuments, sites and buildings (UNESCO 1972), as well as movable cultural goods (such as objects, collections etc) and underwater cultural resources. To the current definition of cultural heritage landscapes and values have been added reminding us that the term evolves hand in hand with the needs of society.