La France et son patrimoine...

Publié le par sab

Je vous fait partager, sans bonheur je vous le confie, les petites nouvelles (archéologiques, évidemment) qui me parviennent de la France (ici via l'Angleterre) et je maintiens mon idée première : je vais demander l'asile politique !

"A new bill challenges the long-established French protection of national cultural heritage.
French museum professionals, mindful of their remit to safeguard and impart cultural heritage, take a stand against the bill submitted in October 2007 by Mr. Jean-François Mancel, Member of General Assembly from the Oise department (second constituency).
This bill claims to grant cultural establishments 'genuine freedom of management' by enabling them to commercialise certain works by selling or leasing them. It challenges a principle to which museum professionals, associations of friends of museums and most donors are very attached: that of the inalienability of public collections.
This dangerous bill aims to create a new distinction between two categories of objects in French museum collections: 'National Treasures', which are to remain inalienable, and 'freely usable works', which can be commercialised.
This distinction sets up a radical hierarchy - at an arbitrary point in time - between masterpieces and works judged to be secondary. But the history of museums shows that such value judgements are relative: the Musée d'Orsay and theMusée du Quai Branly would never have been created if the contents of the reserves of the Louvre and the Musée de l¹Homme had been sold when neither 'firemen' (i.e.'naïve') painters nor Primitive art were popular and had market value. Such a distinction also runs the risk of discrediting whole swathes of historical, archaeological, ethnographic, industrial and maritime heritage, to which our fellow-citizens are attached because they feel closely connected with it.
We set store by the principle of the inalienability of collections because it is closely linked with the ethics of collections and of the professions which work together to manage, conserve and enhance the intrinsic value of these collections. This principle, on which the sense of a shared collective heritage is founded, is one of the factors which have motivated private individuals to add to public heritage over the past two centuries, by generous donations or bequests. Can we so lightly abuse their trust and renege on commitments made decades ago to conserve, study and show to its best advantage the inheritance they entrusted to us to hand on to future generations?
France's rich public collections drive a cultural policy that is the envy of many other countries. They are one of France's chief cultural attractions and indirectly support an exceptionally strong tourist industry. Is there no recognition that this heritage has been built up over two centuries and that it is by this gradual process of accumulation that our country has acquired a network of public collections that is virtually without equal?
The argument in support of commercialising our collections is that museums require public funding and overcrowded reserves might represent a burden on resources. In the short term, selling works would bring in the funding cultural institutions require in order to develop. However, to take this view is to underestimate the vital importance of works which are not on permanent display. First of all, these are the pieces used for most temporary exhibitions and loans resulting in fruitful collaborations between
museums within France and internationally. It ignores the fact that works not on display are nonetheless being researched, studied and documented. Furthermore, the knowledge amassed in this process allows for these works to become accessible and to be exhibited in the future. In addition, museums
have an educational and a social role to play that have nothing to do with mere commercialisation of their works.
There remains the issue of the automatic growth and development of collections which results from careful conservation and the broadening in recent decades of the notion of cultural heritage. Mindful of their responsibilities, for several years now, museum professionals have been considering how to manage the heritage in their care in a more dynamic way. The Law on the Museums of France, which has been incorporated into the Code du patrimoine (Heritage Code), has provided us with legal instruments that enable us to unlist, transfer and circulate works from the collections of the Museums of France. These instruments, which have yet to be extensively used, afford us a range of action within the framework of existing legislation.
Let us make more imaginative use of the scope this Law offers in order to share, circulate, exchange and pass on public collections. Let us endeavour to make even more efforts and enhance closer cooperation with other institutions than we have done so far, for example to avoid unnecessary duplication. Let us seek ways of improving our management of reserve collections and circulating them via deposits and exhibitions. Let us pursue the reflection on 'study collections'² to be permanently included in inventories only after a waiting period in which their merits are evaluated with due consideration.
We call for a large-scale gathering of museum professionals to discuss and formulate proposals to encourage a dynamic, thorough approach to the management of France's public collections, which abides by our profession's core moral and ethical principles, of which the inalienability of public collections is a cornerstone.
Dominique Ferriot
Chairwoman of the French National Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM-France)"

"This is not merely a French issue, and one which global organisations such as WAC might wish to take seriously.
A recent initiative in the UK sought -- as has been done in Australia -- to require museums and other similar bodies to place a financial value on their collections. Part of the argument for such an approach was that 'duplicate' materials and objects not on display and the value of which is less than the cost of its retention may become available for disposal to free up storage space and to provide a source of income to the institution.
For a review of the literature on the Australian case (and sorry for advertising myself here, but it's the only publication on this I've seen, albeit very short):
Carman, Carnegie & Wolnizer 1999 "Is Archaeological Value an Accounting Matter?" Antiquity 73 (March 1999), 143-148."
John Carman

Dr John Carman
Birmingham University Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Heritage Valuation
Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity
Arts Building
University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TT
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 7493
Fax: +44 (0)121 414 3595

Les choses évoluent toujours dans le bon sens à ce que je vois : l'annihilation.

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Commenter cet article

un collègue compatriote 08/05/2008 13:38

mais non voyons, il ne faut pas croire les alarmistes, cette proposition de loi ne sera pas suivie
voilà l'explication:
et le rapport Rigaud:

sab 08/05/2008 14:42

Merci pour la précision. Voyons voir...