Contemporary Conservation Theory for Sustainable Development ...

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Abstract

Western conservation theory aims to preserve an object’s authenticity, which—according to the Western view—is an object’s aesthetic and historic nature as found within the object that can be revealed through scientific and technological methods. However, an object does not become a cultural heritage object (or a museum object) because of its material components; instead, it becomes a heritage or a conservation object because of its social meaning, and its stakeholders decide that meaning. As an alternative to Western conservation theory, contemporary conservation theory emerged in the late twentieth century. It shifted the focus of conservation theory from the object to the stakeholders of that object. This is because an object has no rights, but stakeholders do, and it is for them that conservation is done. Because of this, sustainable development of cultural heritage objects involves social sustainable development rather than the preservation of an object’s material. Therefore, contemporary conservation theory is being proposed for the sustainable development of cultural heritage objects.