Museums Association: Is online cultural content good for mental health and wellbeing?. “The University of Oxford has launched a project exploring whether online cultural content has been beneficial to mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus lockdown. The project, which is being funded through the university’s Covid-19 Research Response Fund, is being run by an interdisciplinary team from its department of psychiatry and the Oxford Internet Institute, using the Ashmolean Museum’s digital collections and resources.”
Malta Independent: Through virtual reality, the general public can now visit underwater cultural heritage sites. “The project features 10 sites, where each site is given a detailed description and videos which show the sites in great detail. The project is in collaboration with the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA), the University of Malta and Heritage Malta, with an investment of €100,000 over three years.” I can’t find a link to the actual site in the article! It’s at https://underwatermalta.org/ . Also, the headline kind of makes it sound like you need a VR headset to use the site. You don’t, it’s a great explore even without.
Arab News: Itching to travel? Visit the wonders of AlUla … from home. “When Saudi Arabia’s ancient heritage site of AlUla announced it would open to the world in late 2020, it was on the bucket list of every fervent traveller. Who wouldn’t want to visit Hegra, the impressive Maraya Concert Hall or watch the sunset at Elephant Rock? As we approach the International Day for Monuments and Sites on April 18, it is worth commemorating these ancient lands with their 200,000 years of history — an area once pivotal for trade and the transmission of cultures, which connected Asia, Africa and Europe.”
Smithsonian: You Can Now Download 1,700 Free 3-D Cultural Heritage Models. “During the first manned lunar landing mission in July 1969, Apollo 11’s crew lived in a command module dubbed the Columbia. Currently a priceless artifact in the National Air and Space Museum’s collections, the module was the only portion of the spacecraft to return to Earth. Now, thanks to a new open access initiative spearheaded by Sketchfab, the web’s largest platform for immersive 3-D content, anyone with an internet connection can ‘re-use, re-imagine and remix’ the vessel—as well as nearly 1,700 other historic artifacts—without limitation.”
Phys .org: The conservation of cultural heritage in the face of climate catastrophe. “Cultural heritage can be destroyed. It can decay. Once it is gone, it is gone forever, sadly. Writing in the International Journal of Global Warming, Portuguese researchers discuss the potential impact of climate change on cultural heritage and how we might lose artifacts as extreme weather has a worsening impact on our world.”
CNN: Senior US officials say there is widespread opposition within the Trump administration to targeting cultural sites in Iran. “Two senior US officials on Sunday described widespread opposition within the administration to targeting cultural sites in Iran should the United States launch retaliatory strikes against Tehran, despite President Donald Trump saying a day before that such sites are among dozens the US has identified as potential targets.”
CNN: More than 100 Uyghur graveyards demolished by Chinese authorities, satellite images show. “In a months’ long investigation, working with sources in the Uyghur community and analyzing hundreds of satellite images, CNN has found more than 100 cemeteries that have been destroyed, most in just the last two years. This reporting was backed up by dozens of official Chinese government notices announcing the ‘relocation’ of cemeteries.”
Museums+Heritage: V&A launches ‘world’s largest and most accessible’ cultural heritage preservation database. “Launched as part of the V&A’s ongoing Culture in Crisis programme, the Museum’s new free-to-access Culture in Crisis Portal is claimed to be the world’s largest and most accessible database of cultural heritage preservation projects.” The V&A in this case is the Victoria & Albert Museum.
South China Morning Post: Heritage conservation in China: why ‘Daughter of Dunhuang’ devoted her life to keeping Buddhist caves and relics alive . “Anyone with more than an ounce of interest in Dunhuang will have heard of Fan Jinshi. Now 81, the Chinese archaeologist who has spent more than half a century researching and preserving the caves at the heart of the ancient Silk Road in Gansu province is known as the ‘Daughter of Dunhuang’ in her field, though ‘protector’ is probably a more fitting description.”
Smithsonian Magazine: Website Provides Blueprint for Repatriating Aboriginal Remains. “While efforts to bring Aboriginal remains home have increased in recent years, as the numbers show, there remains much work to be done when it comes to repatriation and community healing. A new website funded by the Australian Research Council and project partner organizations aims to support those intertwined efforts. Called Return, Reconcile, Renew (RRR), it illuminates the historic and ongoing implications of stealing ancestral remains from Aboriginal communities, provides a virtual space for support and healing, and also offers a roadmap to help Aboriginal communities successfully secure the return of stolen ancestral remains.”
Xinhua: Chinese restoration specialists help Nepal recover soul of Kathmandu Valley culture. “Forming thousands of jigsaw pieces into a picture might be a headache for many, but what Chinese restorer Zhou Jianguo and his team face in Nepal is far more challenging — numerous pieces of debris from a world cultural heritage site that was damaged in a 7.9-magnitude earthquake. The devastating earthquake jolted Kathmandu Valley in 2015, the heart of Nepal’s world cultural heritage sites, causing great damage to the historical building complexes, including the finest temples and towers in the renowned Kathmandu Durbar Square.”
Phys .org: Music is essential for the transmission of ethnobiological knowledge. “Scientific research shows that ethnobiological knowledge is transmitted through song, and how music has the power to express and enforce the intricate relationships among humans, other beings, and their ecosystems.”
I believe I saw this on Twitter, thanks to the Clomping Librarian. Thank you kindly! Chicago Tribune: Illinois State Museum is first in world to return artifacts as part of Australian project to reclaim aboriginal art . “Representatives from the Bardi Jawi and Aranda communities will travel to Springfield next month to pick up 42 artifacts, including boomerangs, shields, spears, and body ornaments, as part of an initiative funded by the Australian government to repatriate overseas artifacts called the Return of Cultural Heritage Project, according to a news release from the museum.”
The Getty Iris: Getty Will Devote $100 Million to Preserve and Study Ancient Art and Sites around the World. “Today, we at Getty are embarking on an unprecedented and ambitious $100 million global initiative, Ancient Worlds Now: A Future for the Past. Including far-reaching education, research, and conservation efforts unfolding through 2030 and beyond, the initiative seeks to promote a greater understanding of the world’s cultural heritage and its value to global society.”
The Getty Iris: An International Conservation Partnership Is Preserving Herculaneum, Ancient Roman Town Buried by Vesuvius. “Herculaneum began to be formally excavated in 1738, mainly via tunnels in the volcanic tuff (rock made from ash and other debris from an eruption). In the late nineteenth century, open-air excavation began, followed by a more systematic approach from 1927 until 1961 led by archaeologist Amedeo Maiuri. In decades following, the site’s rapid deterioration and lack of resources for its maintenance had many crying in alarm. Historical images taken during Maiuri’s time at the site—compared with later conditions—clearly illustrate the disturbing rate of deterioration and loss.”