University of Tartu Museum Wins the UMAC Award 2020

The 2020 UMAC Award was won by the project ‘A Hundred Faces of the University of Tartu’, submitted by the Tartu University Museum, Estonia. The award was accepted by Mariann Raisma, Director of the Museum, during an online ceremony held today on youtube:

The objective of the University of Tartu Museum’s project was to portray the University through encounters between current scholars and historical objects. In the course of the project, a photo exhibition called “Get Your Spirit Ready! A Hundred Faces of the University of Tartu” was mounted, and a book called A Hundred Faces of the University of Tartu was published. The latter focused on 100 objects from the University of Tartu collections which enabled the scholars to describe their fields of activity. The exhibition travelled to the University’s various buildings around Estonia, thereby introducing colleagues to each other, and the University’s outstanding scholars to the students. Now the exhibition is part of a new permanent exhibition called The University of Our Lives at the Museum.

In second place were the “Egyptian Coffins Project” by the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge University, UK) and the “Return of Cultural Heritage Project: Manchester Museum Repatriation” by the Manchester Museum (University of Manchester, UK).

 

Luís (Lucho) Repetto Málaga (1953-2020)

Luís (Lucho) Repetto Malaga, was born August 4, 1953 in Peru. Art historian and museologist specialized in popular art and Amazonian ethnography. Administrator with a master’s degree in Museology from the Escuela de Conservación Restauración y Museografía Manuel del Castillo Negrete in Mexico.

Vice-President of ICOM Peru, Luís Repetto was President of the ICOM-LAC, the Regional Organization for Latin America and the Caribbean of the International Council of Museums. He was the Director of the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions of the Riva Agüero Institute of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, Director of Galleries and Special Projects of the Cultural Centre of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and General Coordinator of the Ibero-American Network for the Management and Appreciation of Heritage Cemeteries. He published multiple essays on popular art and Amazonian ethnography, as well as contemporary museology.

Throughout his life, Repetto was an active and respected leader in the cultural sector in Peru, Latin America and internationally. He is recognized for his commitment to, and love for, heritage and museums, as well as for his love of the popular dance Marinera.
An active member of ICOM-UMAC, particularly in recent years, he supported national networks of university museums and collections in Latin America. Among his many reflections, he left us: “We are in times of museological introspection, times for reinvention, research and the use of the virtual channels in all its modalities”.

 

Karin Weil, Chile

9 June 2020

Happy 2020! Message from UMAC Chair

Dear UMAC members and friends,

As the year draws to an end, I am writing to convey my very best wishes for 2020 and sincere thanks for your support in 2019.

2019 was a great year for UMAC. The initiatives we promoted are too many to enumerate here. They covered training, research, advocacy and networks in Mexico, Germany, Ukraine, China, Japan, Brazil, Poland, Argentina, Russia, and so many other countries.

For example, in 2019 UMAC is proud to have supported the 1st Meeting of Western China University Museums and the 1st Colloquium of University Museums in Indonesia. In 2020, UMAC will support the 1st Meeting of University Museums and Collections in South Africa.

I am thrilled by the increasing number of enthusiastic professionals from university museums and collections everywhere who take the initiative to organise themselves and work together. Remember that UMAC can only do so much, therefore we are always eager to support local and regional initiatives to promote university museums, collections and heritage. We actually want to support even more in 2020! So, get yourself organised with colleagues, in your university, create a network, promote a workshop, a publication or a meeting, develop a blog or a course, and UMAC will give you full support and a global platform. Your ideas may seem too local to you — in Colombia, Estonia, Nigeria — but they are highly likely to be inspiring to others.

Act locally and inspire globally through UMAC.

Just a couple of highlights from 2019.

1) UMAC has now 650 institutional and individual members in 67 countries and territories, which is more than double the membership in 2016. We are excited about this growth and grateful to those who joined the ICOM-UMAC community. If you are not a member yet, make yourself one because now is best time to enjoy the most benefits from ICOM membership. See here how.

Still, 650 members is a ridiculously small number if we consider the number of universities in the world and that every single one of them has collections. I am yet to visit one university that has no collections. In fact, I challenge any person who says that a given university has no collections. Of course they have. They may be ‘hidden’, but of course they exist — just recalibrate your senses for both the past and the present and observe well.

2) 2019 was the year we tested a new format in our annual conferences: shorter papers, more time for debate and controversy, local engagement and ‘minds on’ workshops. UMAC 2019 in Kyoto last September was a tremendous success, the largest in ICOM 2019, right after CECA (the international committee for Education and Cultural Action). It was also the first ever UMAC conference with an Imperial Princess in attendance — we were delighted and honored that Princess Mako of Japan, a university museum enthusiast, participated in two of our Kyoto sessions.

I did it so many times, but I would like again to express our deepest gratitude to the UMAC 2019 Chairs — Akiko Fukuno and Hiroshi Minami — for their incredible work in Kyoto and, through them, all authors, sessions moderators, workshop facilitators, participants and sponsors of UMAC 2019.

3) 2019 was also the year UMAC elected a new Board. If you do not know who we are, take a look here. I am grateful to the new Board members, to all members for their trust and, personally, very proud to be leading UMAC until Prague in 2022.

I am also extremely grateful to the previous UMAC Board. We achieved so many things together and working with you was a pleasure and a privilege. So thank you so much Marcus, Barbara, Graciela, Akiko, Luisa, Lyndel, Elena, and Marine!

4) 2019 was also the year our journal UMACJ began to change. We want UMACJ to become an indexed journal, fully recognised by the academic and scientific community. It will take time but will be worth in the end as there is a niche for a global high quality journal addressing specific issues — theoretical, practical, ethical, legal — of higher education museums, collections and heritage.

Thanks to the hard work of Editor and Vice-Chair Andrew Simpson, and a vast number of people, and partners, UMACJ i) has a new Editorial Board, ii) began publishing two issues per year (the latest just came out), and ii) expanded into Chinese language.

5) 2019 was also the year we are finally beginning to understand who are the professionals working in university museums, collections and heritage. Our Global Systematic Survey, supported by ICOM Special Projects (P-MUS), is coming to an end. Please do not forget to answer the survey if you have not done so.

6) The Medical Museion, University of Copenhagen, won the UMAC Award 2019. The project was a terrific outside the box exhibitionMind the Gut — that can still be visited. Do not miss it next time you are in Denmark.

By the way, there is still time to make your nomination to the UMAC Award 2020.

And there were so many other things happening in 2019 — UMAC Futures met for the first time, the UMAC app already has a name, etc etc, etc — but let’s enter 2020 now.

Here is why I think we should be excited in 2020.

UMAC IS RETURNING TO AUSTRALIA

In 2002, our second annual meeting was in Sydney and Canberra and we are incredibly excited about UMAC 2020 in Sydney, 15-17 September.

In 2020, we will begin a two-year commemoration of UMAC’s 20th Anniversary (in 2020, we will commemorate our 20th Annual General Assembly and in 2021, 20 Years of UMAC). What better place to celebrate than one of the cradles — perhaps the most important — of the university museum and collection’s movement of the late 1990s that culminated in the creation of UMAC in July 2001? I can’t think of nowhere else in the world I’d rather be.

The Sydney 2020 website is on, the Call for Papers is open, and we will meet at the new Chau Chak Wing Museum of the University of Sydney (at this very exact moment getting ready for us, we will practically inaugurate it).

I know very well that Kyoto and Sydney represent two years in a row of incredible financial sacrifice for many of us, particularly in Europe and the Americas. But if you book now, travel costs will not be that high. Plus there will be travel grants for speakers, as usual (more about this soon). Plus, if you are in Asia, this is (again) your year.

As I am writing this message, it’s impossible not to express my deepest sadness for the devastating bushfires that have been decimating  communities and national parks in Australia during the last days — weeks! — of 2019. People have lost homes, people have died. It’s an incredible tragedy and Australians are in our thoughts.

AT GLOBAL SCALE, DISCUSSIONS ABOUT THE DIVERSE AND INCLUSIVE MUSEUM WILL CONTINUE

This year the debate warmed up (in fact it has been going on for years, but became more visible because society became more aware), and 2020 will be the year everyone will be talking about giving more space and time to underrepresented voices in museums.

Here is why.

After a very interesting debate in Kyoto, the new museum definition will be finally voted during the ICOM’s General Assembly in June 2020.

ICOFOM, ICOM’s international committee for museology, has promoted an internal debate and UMAC members can — and should — contribute here until January 26. Your contributions will inform UMAC’s vote in June. In Kyoto, UMAC voted in favor of postponing the adoption of the new ICOM definition, so now we really want to hear from you!

Although not UMAC’s official position on this matter, last July I have expressed concerns about the impact of the new ICOM museum definition for university museums and collections in a meeting promoted by the University of Milan and ICOM-Italy. You can read them here.

Furthermore, in 2020 the theme of ICOM’s International Museum Day will be ‘Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion‘, which provides an opportunity to further discuss these issues — and associated issues, such as museum ‘neutrality’, repatriation’, co-curation,  ‘decolonisation’, and others — out in the open with our audiences. Although recent debates have been rather polarised (e.g. Kyoto discussions), the issues are far from simple. Throughout the year, I believe we have an obligation to dissect their complexity for, and with, our audiences.

UMAC has just submitted a special project to ICOM, chaired by Vice-Chair Steph Scholten, about ‘Restitution and Repatriation in Universities’. So, you will hear from us soon.

I won’t bother you with in-depth ruminations in the last day of the year, but in universities questions of diversity, inclusion, repatriation, ‘decolonisation’ (an euro-centric term!) have specific nuances that we have to address. Just to name a few, all connected: i) universities have collections, not only museums; ii) the ‘knowledge legitimacy’ issue, which is highly problematic; iii) ownership is often problematic too; and iv) the lack of museum-trained professionals to observe the ICOM Code of Ethics and develop provenance research. Current museum guidelines are not enough. We need the input from interdisciplinary teams involving historians of science and research, and others — not just museum professionals — to develop solid and practical guidelines and help universities navigate this highly charged field.

Please send us your thoughts — we would love to hear from you.

And, of course, this issue should not consume 100% of our mental space. There are many other issues that we cannot put aside in 2020 — sustainability, climate change, migrations, inequality, species extinction, surveillance capitalism, and so many others — all important to contemporary societies. As university museums and collections, we should be in the forefront addressing them with our audiences, in exhibitions and educational programs.

Dear friends, to conclude.

I am joined by the UMAC Board in thanking you for your contribution towards the mission and activities of UMAC. I am particularly grateful to everyone involved in the initiatives I mentioned in this message (editors, researchers, authors, translators, designers, chairs, working group members, organisers, participants, institutional partners). I look forward to meeting even more of you in the coming year, in Sydney or anywhere else in the world, and I wish you a VERY HAPPY 2020.

UMAC vous souhaite une excellente année 2020!

UMAC le desea un feliz 2020!

UMAC deseja-vos um feliz ano novo 2020!

国际博物馆协会大学博物馆与藏品委员会祝您2020新年快乐!

Marta C. Lourenço, University of Lisbon

UMAC Chair

PS And follow us on Twitter, Instagram, WeChat and FB.

Lisbon, 31 December 2019

The new museum definition is out!

In fact, two new museum definitions.

Following a long public debate, ICOM’s standing committee on Museum Definition, Prospects and Potentials (MDPP) has proposed two new museum definitions to the  Executive Board of ICOM, which will be voted  next September in Kyoto.

Read more here.

And here they are, the two definitions:

DEFINITION 1

Museums are democratising, inclusive and polyphonic spaces for critical dialogue about the pasts and the futures. Acknowledging and addressing the conflicts and challenges of the present, they hold artefacts and specimens in trust for society, safeguard diverse memories for future generations and guarantee equal rights and equal access to heritage for all people.

DEFINITION 2

Museums are not for profit. They are participatory and transparent, and work in active partnership with and for diverse communities to collect, preserve, research, interpret, exhibit, and enhance understandings of the world, aiming to contribute to human dignity and social justice, global equality and planetary well being.


A new museum definition was always likely to be controversial and this announcement is generating considerable debate.

What do you think? Please leave your comments below, we would love to hear from you.

UMAC is still debating how to vote in Kyoto, in any case at this point we are joining those who say that more internal debate is needed.

Read here a brief speech by the UMAC Chair on the importance of the museum definition for university museums, Milan, 8 July.

 

UMAC contribution to the ICOM museum definition debate

ICOM is promoting a debate about the museum definition. The current museum definition dates from the 1970s (with changes introduced at the 2007 General Assembly in Seoul). Fifty years have meanwhile passed and ICOM is compiling contributions from museum professionals all over the world.

The importance of the ICOM’s museum definition should not be underestimated. Governments, accreditation agencies, among others, in many countries, derive national legislation, regulation and standards for the museum sector from the definition.

When the debate opened, we made an announcement here and we strongly encourage UMAC members to participate. More than 150 proposals from all continents can be read here.

UMAC wants to contribute:

Is there anything we can — and should — contribute as a collective? Does the current museum definition reflect the needs and aspirations of university museums and collections? What should we add? What is our agenda, if any?

Please send your views to Marta Lourenço, or leave your comment below before the end of April.

The current ICOM Museum Definition is:

The museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.

ICOM Museum International

Museum International: The issues ‘Museums in a Digital World’ and ‘Museums and Contested Histories’ are now available

 

FROM ICOM:

Following the recent announcement of our new partnership with Taylor and Francis/Routledge to publish ICOM’s journal, Museum International, we are delighted to announce that ICOM members can now enjoy unlimited access to the journal’s full online archive and current issues through their ICOM member space.

To complement this, Taylor & Francis/Routledge are offering ICOM members free access to five of their museum- and heritage-related journals : Heritage  & Society, Museum History Journal, Museum Management and Curatorship, Museums & Social Issues: A Journal of Reflective Discourse, Journal of Heritage Tourism.

We hope you will enjoy reading the recently published issues of Museum International: ‘Museums in a Digital World’ (Vol. 70, No. 277-278) and ‘Museums and Contested Histories’ (Vol. 70, No. 279-280).

In Museums in a Digital World, authors describe the manifold opportunities digital technology has provided museums in terms of accessibility, inclusion and the democratisation of culture.

This issue examines the new roles museum objects, collections and professionals are assuming in this digital age. It outlines the different strategies that are being implemented by museums to adapt to this ever-changing environment, and presents innovative initiatives in co-creation.

Museums and Contested Histories highlights museums’ increasing willingness to address past traumatic events through mediation and experimentation.

By acknowledging and expressing multiple points of view and voices, museums might well play a crucial reconciliatory role in ongoing controversies, giving a voice to the voiceless, shifting narrative focus, and upholding pluralism.

We hope that you will find this resource useful in your professional life and research.

To access, enter your account in ICOM’s website and click on ‘Read Museum International‘.

 

SCAM ALERT

From our ICOMON colleagues:

It has been brought to ICOM’s attention that there are some websites and individuals pretending to be ICOM and claim to provide, for a fee, fake certificates of authenticity or allowing free import and export, particularly concerning African cultural goods. False collector cards are sometimes offered as well.

The scammers claim that these certificates exonerate the holder from the obligation to present any other document such as the ownership title, the export license and certificate, the certificate of expertise, the certificate of authenticity, etc. They act most often by phone, email, and through fraudulent sites usurping the name, logo and appearance of ICOM’s website.

ICOM, the international association of museums and museum professionals, does not participate in any way in negotiations in the art market. ICOM does not issue any certificate of expertise, origin, authenticity, registration or circulation for cultural property. No international organisation has a mandate in this area. Only competent national authorities are authorised to issue this type of document.

This scam has already claimed many victims, especially concerning Cameroon. We urge you to be extremely vigilant, and to respect the national and international legislation in force when you carry out transactions involving cultural goods.
UNESCO is also a victim of this scam and has published an alert on its website.

Be very careful of:

  • websites that mention several associations or international organisations in their URLs (eg ICOM and UNESCO)
  • persons who get in touch with you proposing expensive documents: ICOM does not issue any!