Study of the safeguarding of movable cultural properties in Boston, USA

Boston Museum of Fine Arts
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation studies systems of safeguarding cultural properties in different countries. As part of this project, the Center continued with its study of the safeguarding of movable cultural properties in the US which it started last year. Although the US has world-renowned museums and art museums, it has no ministry or agency that safeguards and manages movable cultural properties. The national government is limited to a regulatory and oversight role. Studies from last year indicated that non-profit organizations in respective fields independently coordinate with relevant agencies in the US. In the event of a disaster or problem, multiple bodies appear to act efficiently and deal with the disaster or resolve the problem. The studies also revealed that routine management of movable cultural properties depends largely on the particular values of individual museums and art museums.
 From February 10–14, 2014, EMURA Tomoko and SAKAINO Asuka interviewed curators at the Harvard Art Museums and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in further detail. In addition, we examined the substantial effect that an individual’s bequest can have on how a collection is managed at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. This study noted how the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in particular was established as a public institution through local initiative. Because of this background, the Museum of Fine Arts plays a valued role in the community. This fact also affects the values behind the management of the museum’s collection, as became apparent.
 The history behind the founding of an art museum or museum and the way in which it assembles its collection can affect its current management of cultural properties. Plans are to continue studying museums and art museums in the US with this thought in mind.

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