The subject of religion and spirituality in the heritage sector summons up a number of challenging ethical and philosophical issues. There has been much written about sacred objects belonging to ‘non-Western’ people in museums, but it has often been framed in terms of competing ‘world views’ in post-colonial contexts. This usually involves painting ‘The West’ and therefore the heritage sector as inherently scientific and secular. In reality the relationship is much more interesting. This is one aspect of my current research so I decided to blog a little on it.
I thought that I would start blogging on this topic with a couple of recommendations for introductory reading and resources. For my PhD research I used Crispin Paine’s ‘Godly Things: Museums, Objects, Religion’ and would thoroughly recommend it . However, as Crispin Paine notes in his latest book the field has moved on a lot since that book was published. I just picked up this new title ‘Religious Objects’ from the bookshop on Sunday and can’t wait to get reading . For introductory reading I would also recommend Myra Shackley’s ‘Managing Sacred Sites’
So for anybody who wants to find out more about this subject, that’s a good start. I’m booked onto the British Museum event ‘Encountering the Sacred’ in a few weeks time This excellent blog ‘Religion in Museums’, run by the folks responsible for the BM event, is well worth subscribing to.
In conclusion, this post is numbered as #1 as this is a topic that I will come back to again. My next blog on this subject will discuss the British Museum event.