Library and Archives Canada Blog: Archives as resources for revitalizing First Nations languages. “Since colonial contact, government policies have caused the displacement and separation of our people from their families, communities, lands and languages. Attempts at assimilation, such as the establishment of residential schools and the ongoing Millennium Scoop, have distanced multiple generations from their languages and cultures. Canada recognizes only English and French as official languages. First Nations communities have therefore taken leadership in ensuring that their languages are maintained, relearned and passed down. The decline in the natural inheritance of language through kinship has led to the rise of language-preservation and language-revitalization projects.”
National Geographic: Disaster looms for indigenous Amazon tribes as COVID-19 cases multiply. “According to figures compiled by the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), the country’s principal indigenous federation, deaths from COVID-19 in indigenous communities have risen from 46 on May 1 to 262 on June 9. Together with numbers tallied by state health departments around the country, APIB’s statistics show that 9.1 percent of indigenous people who contract the disease are dying, nearly double the 5.2 percent rate among the general Brazilian population.”
DCist: National Building Museum Lays Off Two-Thirds Of Its Staff. “Less than a month after it put much of its staff on furlough, the National Building Museum is permanently cutting two-thirds of its staff, citing loss of revenue due to the pandemic. More than 40 administrative and hourly visitor services positions will be eliminated, effective June 1, a museum spokesperson confirmed to DCist on Wednesday. That will leave just 18 core staff who are on partial furlough and two staff members working on grant-based projects.”
The Conservation: International film archives are streaming up a storm during lockdown. Australia’s movie trove isn’t even online. “Film archives began to be established in 1933 as archivists realised films needed to be safeguarded for their own sake, rather than for military or religious purposes. Nitrate film used from the early 1890s through the mid-1950s, and magnetic tape used from the mid-1940s to the early 2000s, cannot survive the test of time. So, in addition to managing storage environments, archives preserve films digitally. Commercial streaming services offer access to films, but they do not ensure this content is stored, saved and contextualised. They are not custodians of history or culture. Archives ensure recordings of the past remain meaningfully embedded in our contemporary life. In a time when the audiovisual is our primary mode of communication, the archive as an institution protecting and championing our shared history is more important than ever.”
The Scotsman: Unlocking the treasures that tell the story of the Highlands. “Highland Objects has been launched to open up the collections of the small independent museums in the Highlands, which are now facing a very uncertain future given the impact of the pandemic and the loss of vistitors from around the world this year. Running online, museums in the Highlands have been asked to put forward their favourite objects with the public to vote on their most loved out of a group of six.
California Literary Review: What coronavirus costs to the Italian cultural heritage.. “Given that Italy’s is generally considered the world’s richest cultural heritage, maintenance of its historic monuments and museum, with exhibits dating from the early Neolithic era through today’s avantgarde, is costly. But with international tourism virtually at the end for an indefinite period because of Covid-19, income to maintain the precious heritage is dangerously reduced. The Roman Colosseum, for one example, attracts some 7.6 million visitors a year. Ticket sells for $17, meaning that solely during the lockdown months from March through April, income lost for maintenance and staff wages was well over one million dollars. Air traffic to Rome has shut down one airport altogether, Ciampino, plus the important Terminal One at Leonardo Da Vinci airport.”
Condé Nast Traveler: Google’s New Tool Shows the Impact of Climate Change on World Heritage Sites. “The project, called ‘Heritage on the Edge,’ uses 3D mapping and other photo tools to capture images of World Heritage Sites that can be used for conservation support and raising awareness with tourists and the general public. Among the five heritage sites that were mapped are Rapa Nui (Easter Island); Kilwa Kisiwani on Tanzania’s Swahili Coast; the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, Scotland; Mosque City of Bagerhat in Bangladesh; and the ancient city of Chan Chan in Peru.”
Arab News: Archive departments are too often neglected, says director of Saudi historical materials conservation center. “Historical documents at risk of neglect are being restored with the help of the King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Center for Historical Materials Conservation, with many government and private entities seeking the center’s assistance. In an exclusive interview with Arab News, the director of the center, Abdulrahman Al-Baiz, described how archive departments at many governmental and private entities are neglected.”
Phys .org: Model shows Welsh language in no danger of extinction but te reo Māori is on its way out. “A team of researchers affiliated with multiple institutions in New Zealand has developed a mathematical model that can be used to predict whether a language is at risk of disappearing. In their paper published in Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the group describes their model and how it can be used.”
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.”
The Guardian: The cultural pioneers bringing oral storytelling to the next generation. “For millennia, Indigenous Australian communities have been passing down histories, knowledge, language and customs, largely through oral storytelling. But in a world of digital addiction, where even the most remote parts of the country are being infiltrated by smartphones, telling stories via screens is the new necessary: a way to both preserve tradition and reach out to the young.”
Phys .org: Scientists race to document Puerto Rico’s coastal heritage. “A group of U.S.-based scientists is rushing to document indigenous sites along Puerto Rico’s coast dating back a couple of thousand years before rising sea levels linked to climate change destroy a large chunk of the island’s heritage that is still being discovered.”
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.”