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Intangible Cultural Heritage and Ethnographic Museum Practice

This page provides an historical overview of the China-US ethnographic museum work that has been done under the auspices of AFS's China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage project since 2011. Separate pages provide more detailed information about our museums work in 2013-2016 and in 2017-2019, now just underway.

The Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies effort (2017-2019) is part of the larger China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project (2007-2019) of the American Folklore Society; it is also an extension of an earlier museum-focused effort, titled China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project (2013-2016). Key stages in the history of both museum-focused efforts are described here. The Henry Luce Foundation has been the lead sponsor for the larger AFS endeavor, including the museum initiatives.

The entire museums project team met for the first time in Kunming, China, in December 2013. This first gathering was hosted by the Yunnan Nationalities Museum and included travel to the city of Dali. A detailed account of the trip has been published in the newsletter of the Mathers Museums of World Cultures and is available online. An account of the gathering can also be found on the website of the host, the Yunnan Nationalities Museum.

Many project participants, including a large Chinese delegation, participated in the November 2014 American Folklore Society meetings in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The AFS meetings were followed by the Fifth Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage: Bridging Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage in Ethnographic Museums and Heritage Sites, as well as professional development visits by four Chinese museum colleagues to East Lansing, Michigan (home to the MSU Museum) and Bloomington, Indiana (home to the MMWC). A copy of the conference program book is available here.

In December 2014, the Guizhou Nationalities Museum hosted a second project team meeting. Held in Guiyang, this meeting focused on planning the Sixth Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage and furthering work on the Quilts of Southwest China exhibition.

In April 2015, the Guizhou Nationalities Museum hosted the Sixth Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage. At this time, staff from the three US partner museums also made professional development visits to the partner museums in Kunming (Yunnan Province) and Nanning (Guangxi Province). A copy of the conference program book is available here.

In September 2016, the Quilts of Southwest China exhibition opened at the Michigan State University Museum.

In May 2016, MMWC Director Jason Baird Jackson, together with a research team from the GXMN, undertook exploratory field research in the vicinity of the Dong eco-museum in Sanjiang County and the Baiku (White Trousers) Yao eco-museum in Nandan County in Northern Guangxi Province. This work laid the foundation for the sub-project proposal (Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies), within a larger AFS proposal to the Luce Foundation. The Luce Foundation announced the awarding of this grant in November 2016.

In June 2016, the Quilts of Southwest China exhibition opened at the International Quilt Study Center and Museums, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

In November 2016, the Indiana University Press released the US edition of Quilts of Southwest China, co-edited by Marsha MacDowell and Lijun Zhang. The volume was initially produced and published in China in May 2016 by the GXMN, in cooperation with the Yunnan Nationalities Museum and Guizhou Museum of Nationalities.

In January 2017, the Quilts of Southwest China exhibition opened at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

 



 


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