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Museums need to learn to teach

Update: October, 23/2014 - 08:44
Museums at play: Students learn to decorate traditional masks at the Viet Nam Museum of Ethnology. During the conference, experts emphasised the importance of getting young people linked to museum activities. — Photo courtesy the Viet Nam Museum of Ethnology

HA NOI (VNS) — Vietnamese museum staff need more practical training, said Amareswar Galla, director of the International Institute for the Inclusive Museum, at a conference in Ha Noi yesterday.

"Viet Nam needs a master plan to educate museum staff, implemented at the museum level, the city level and the country level," he said. "As a postcolonial country in Asia, Viet Nam can look at museums in other postcolonial countries in the region and work in partnership with museum institutes in India, China, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines."

The conference gathered experts from the International Committee for the Training of Personnel (ICTOP) under the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and officers from museums throughout the world to discuss training for museum staff, as well as museology's role in sustainable development and preserving cultural heritage.

"Museums are much more than instruments. They are the soul of development," Galla said. "With globalisation, people face the challenge to protect original values such as heritage, knowledge, creativity, identity and diversity."

After Galla talked about the educative value of museums, Vietnamese representatives contributed ideas about how teaching methods could help preserve cultural heritage. Vu Phuong Nga brought up Ha Noi UNESCO Office projects that aimed to integrate intangible cultural heritage into teaching in schools.

Researcher Tran Thi Thu Thuy from the Viet Nam Museum of Ethnology said rapid economic and technological changes had created a situation in which traditional culture values and knowledge were in danger of disappearing. Younger people, she warned, were increasingly alienated from cultural heritage.

"In response to this crisis, museums need to find ways to improve public knowledge about culture and raise awareness about the importance of preserving heritage," she said. "Museums struggle to attract, engage, and educate youth about the importance of cultural heritage. So improving the abilities of museum staff is very important."

The delegates will visit the Viet Nam Women's Museum, Vietnamese Museum of Ethnology and Viet Nam Fine Arts Museum during the rest of the conference, which will run until Saturday.

This was the first time ICTOP held its annual conference in a Southeast Asian country. — VNS

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