MA Museum and Heritage Studies Dissertation Abstracts, 1998

Institute of Archaeology
University College London

The archaeological resource management of the Shuiwaku site and the Tamalin site in Puli Basin, Central Taiwan
Whei-Lee Chu

Collections of indigenous human remains in Argentina: The issue of claiming a national heritage
Maria Luz Endere

The interpretation of archaeology in museums and sites
Maria Kokorotskou

A day in the life: Three case studies of small London museums
Vicky Ladijinsky

Photographic collections kept in museums
Constantina Marmaridou

The legal status of human remains in England, applied to archiving institutions
Naomi Aude Mott

Where heritage, museum and gallery collide: Looking at the Imperial War Museum
Louise Oakham

In a multicultural society, is it possible/desirable to attempt to represent all of London's ethnic communities in museums?
Caroline Wilkes


The archaeological resource management of the Shuiwaku site and the Tamalin site in Puli Basin, Central Taiwan

The thesis aims to examine the concept and the practice of the archaeological resource management in Taiwan. Two archaeological sites from Central Taiwan: the Shuiwaku site and the Tamalin site are used as examples for proposing management plan in order to improve the present shortcomings and promote better preservation conduct of the archaeological sites.

The research methods employed in the investigation include literature review, questionnaire survey and conservation proposal planning. The literature review mainly focuses on two areas: one, the relevant laws, their implementation in the UK, as well as in Taiwan. The second area is the history and existing condition of the Puli area with its two archaeological sites. Through the review, it is known that many aspects of present practices of conservation in Taiwan need to be improved. Questionnaires were distributed to the students and parents of Ta-chen Junior High School in Puli. One hundred eighty-seven responses were completed and tabulated.

The result indicates that most folks look forward the conservation work of the Shuiwaku and the Tamalin site. In fact, the local history workers have been involved in the preservation of two sites and contributed great efforts on it. It is known that the public has great influence. Based on above findings and understanding, the researcher proposes short-term and long-term plans of management and interpretation for the two sites respectively. Finally, more suggestions are given for the conservation of the archaeological sites in Taiwan in keeping pace with the advanced countries in the world.


Collections of indigenous human remains in Argentina: The issue of claiming a national heritage

In the last few decades, indigenous peoples have tried to recover and take control of the human remains of their ancestors held in museums or as yet unexcavated. This so called 'reburial issue' emerged firstly in the USA and Australia and has now extended to other indigenous peoples all over the world.

The purpose of this dissertation is to discuss the historical, legal, academic and ethnic background of claims for the return of indigenous human remains carried out in Argentina and to compare them with the international experience of repatriation claims.

Most of the claims in Argentina have focused on the return of the remains of famous Tehuelehes and Mapuche chiefs held in museums in order to help recover the indigenous past and identity of indigenous peoples. Legal, political and academic reasons have impeded the recognition of all but one of these claims, known as the Inakayal case.

The indigenous peoples of Argentina are undergoing a process of organisation and integration of their communities in order to defend their rights. In this context, the Inakayal case, has acquired a symbolic meaning among indigenous descendants as well as raising academic awareness about this subject.


The interpretation of archaeology in museums and sites

This paper deals with the way that archaeology can be presented to the public at museums and sites. Many people refrain from visiting museums and sites. On the other hand many times museum and site visitors do not gain knowledge, or worse, they feel bored. Consequently, the importance of archaeology and the role that it can play in public's education is trivialised. A good interpretation is the solution to this problem. An effective interpretation is based upon the right choice of interpretative media that should serve visitors' needs and respect the nature of the interpreted material. Great attention is needed especially to the interpretation of historic sites because of their fragile nature. This paper falls into three chapters: the first chapter covers the interpretation in the museum; the second chapter deals with the interpretation in situ; and the third chapter discusses the current interpretation methods in two museum exhibitions and two historic sites from Great Britain and Greece.


A day in the life: Three case studies of small London Museums

The aim of this dissertation is to give an insight into the workings of three representative small museums, the Cuming Museum, the Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garret Museum and the Jewish Museum, Camden Town. Methods used included background research, using interviews and analysis of material obtained from each museum. A day was spent in each museum, observing visitors and staff, which is summarized in a written report of 'a day in the life.' In addition, the work provides an overview of literature written about small museums.

The museums were chosen on the basis of their collections and their differences. Each represents a distinct model of local authority, medical or theme museum. A local authority manages the first museum, while the other two are independent. The dissertation presents an analysis of these differences and the reasons for them. The negative and positive points of being a small museum are emphasised, but what comes through is the diversity of small museums in London.


Photographic collections kept in museums

Photography throughout its history was met with opposition as to its social uses and aesthetics, and there was an open controversy as to its status as an art form. Despite the opposition, museums supported photography from the beginning of its invention in the nineteenth century. The museums not only incorporated photographs into their privileged space, but also "surrounded them with the apparatus of scholarship, appreciation and connoisseurship formerly reserved for paintings and sculptures."

It is the intention of this study to explore how photographic collections are kept in museums. It will endeavour to study the aspects of managing photographic collections. It will be concerned with conservation procedures. It will discuss the usage, accessibility and future of photographic collections.


The legal status of human remains in England, applied to archiving institutions

The Christian community placed its trust in the Church to protect its dead from defilement. However, as shown by the medieval Church's attempts to control the abuse of Saints relics and treatment of the body by burial customs of embalming and evisceration, it has ultimately failed. A flurry of statutes were passed in the 19th century in an attempt to plug the gap left by ecclesiastical law. However, this was hampered by a precedent set in case law in 1613 whereby a body could not be property and thus could not be stolen. Abuse of the corpse could only be tried as a misdemeanor offence. With the result that there were no adequate punishments for body-snatchers of the 18-19th century supplying the dissection trade, albeit compounded by the collusion which existed between the anatomists, judiciary and parliament. 19th century Burial Acts effectively passed control of the interred corpse to the State, while the Planning Acts of the 20th century removed the protection of interment. The Anatomy Acts and Human Tissue Act 1961 legalised the use of anatomical specimens for research. The Statutes have attempted a balance been the supply of human tissue for study, and the decent treatment of the body. In spite of statutory provisions for reburial in the Church faculty, Home Office licence, and Schedule, disinterments are being archived for study with the approval of government. Parliament has the authority under statute law to recall archived material for reburial, but so far lacks the political will to do so. Public display of human remains has been restrained by public decency common law and ethical considerations to date, and the State retains the powers to confiscate unsuitable material. However, the 'no property in a body' precedent is being eroded by case law, in particular by the ruling in the R v Kelly and Lindsay case in 1998 whereby certain classes of human remains are capable of theft.


Where hertiage, museum and gallery collide: Looking at the Imperial War Museum

"We want to cater for as wide a variety of the public as possible...it makes sense to do that under one roof rather than pigeonhole things for a more specialist audience"

(Carolyn Marsden-Smith, Imperial War Museum Exhibition Officer, 1998)

It is all too frequently assumed that art galleries, museums and heritage spaces are separate entities. Although they all deal with material culture they usually do this in different ways and in different locations. If you want to see twentieth century art the Tate would be at the top of your list of places to visit, whereas if you wanted to look at examples of technology you would probably go to the Science Museum. This seems to suit many people. By dividing subject areas into smaller, more manageable chunks they can become more easily comprehensible. Cultural conventions also inform the way people compartmentalise material culture. It simply is not 'the done thing' to display works of art, which are prized for their intrinsic beauty and taste, with symbols of industry and heavy toil.

The Imperial War Museum seemingly ignores these boundaries. It holds one of the largest collections of twentieth century British art yet also displays examples of modern military technology. It also offers two experiential displays which one would expect to see in a 'heritage' establishment, it is increasingly emphasising the social history of conflict, and it collects a vast amount of historical film footage. This seems quite remarkable to me. Why has this happened? Is it simply the pragmatic result of a prolonged policy of collecting as many different aspects of war as possible? Was there any decision to destroy mythical boundaries between subject areas and provide a democratic experience for visitors or have these boundaries simply been replaced with new ones? Are seemingly disparate elements able to co-exist in the Imperial War Museum? This paper will explore these issues.


In a multicultural society, is it possible/desirable to attempt to represent all of London's ethnic communities in museums?

The aim of this dissertation is to prove that it is both possible and desirable to attempt to represent all of London's ethnic communities in museums. It identifies the issues that this raises and seeks to address them. In the process, it looks at the implications of living in a multicultural society and attempts to define ethnic communities. The arguments are illustrated with the aid of three case studies: the Museum of London; Croydon Museum Service; and the National Army Museum.