Date of Award

Summer 8-19-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MA Museum Professions

Department

Communication and the Arts

Advisor

Juergen Heinrichs, Ph.D.

Keywords

museum professionals, cultural heritage, armed conflict, war, museums, cultural heritage protection

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis is to address the issue of protecting museum professionals in areas of armed conflict. Recent conflicts have increased public awareness of cultural heritage sites in danger. Organizations such as UNESCO condemned the destruction of Palmyra and the desecration of the Mosul Museum. Despite the public outrage, there is little consideration given to professionals who work at these institutions and who care for the collections. Examining the historical accounts of museum professionals in conflict zones provides the context to the suggestions made in this text. Possible solutions and methods proposed throughout the text include the expansion of legislation and implementation of programs for professionals in need. Additionally, the museum community can consider other professions and how they provide for peers in areas of armed conflict. This thesis also considers the broader shift in the museum community. The museum is no longer just a repository for art and artifacts. Museums serve a local and international community, transcending cultures and welcoming diverse voices. An extension of service to the community is service to international museum professionals. Although armed conflict is unpredictable, it is important to discuss the needs of colleagues in these locations. Having resources and programs in place to protect the employees of a museum will ensure cultural heritage in these volatile places will be cared for in times of both conflict and peace.

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