Discuss the topic on this page. Here is the place to ask questions and propose changes.
Sorted by

Good morning!

Going through the site and the forum, I haven't been able to find posts or job listings on the topic of cultural goods conservation and protection. First of all, please let me know if I didn't actually look right.

I believe it's an important subject for human kind, because cultural heritage is the world history footprint. Within cultural heritage I see as most pressing the physical objects - art, etnographics, rare books and documents, etc.  They belong to all of humanity, it's our history made physical. Can you imagine the world whithout Mona Lisa, the Taj Mahal or the Pyramides? 

I also believe that it's an urgent matter to protect these goods in conflict areas so they can survive and be traced later on. Inventory and catalogue procedures, art and historical studies, saving art from war damage, building Conservation and Restoration programs to extend the existence of those invaluable goods... they seem very valuable and altruistic jobs.

Therefore, I suggest a topic about conservation and protection of Cultural Heritage - if there isn't one already. 


Thank you!

I'm sympathetic even though my background in technology and futurism has persistently drawn my attention away from things like this, so I might also be a bit clueless, but that might shed light on why we haven't discussed this much yet and I think we'd be very open to hosting those discussions and the associated communities.
I'd be super interested to see a historian or anthropologist attempt to estimate the moral weight of the preservation of cultural knowledge or artifacts, and weigh it against other work.

As a starting point... how many people should one be willing to kill to save the mona lisa? The answer that most people will give (we learn from the one absurd trolley problem level that was about that) is "none". This doesn't necessarily mean that the mona lisa isn't worth the millions that have been spent preserving it, but to me it does strongly suggest it and I don't know where to go from there... (It's always possible in surveys like this that the respondents are just being cowardly and aren't expressing their true values I guess...)

My current state of understanding about this problem area would be, like... Yeah I think we should digitize the hell out of everything then subsidize politically neutral permastorage practices, and from listening to Ada Palmer's podcast I've become aware that most ancient documents haven't been digitized yet? Which is interesting, but I also don't think digitizing them all before they rot will be especially difficult and is probably largely already happening? Analysis of the records can come much later and doesn't need funding right now, and if the scans are good, it's not obvious to me what the benefits are of keeping the physical objects in tact?

I'd guess that preserving, or recording living cultures is probably a lot more pressing and a lot more difficult. I want to see lots of recordings of artfully conducted interviews to capture cultural knowledge. I wish that most indigenous belief systems had not been destroyed by missionaries. I wish that they had been woven into a survivable syncretion of scientific industrial cultures so that they could have survived and contributed what they had. I'd be personally interested in working on that kind of thing.