Safeguarding Tangible Heritage in Socially Deprived Areas

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  • Title: Safeguarding Tangible Heritage in Socially Deprived Areas: The Role Played by a Small Museum
  • Author(s): Jos Ann Cutajar
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Inclusive Museum
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum
  • Keywords: Heritage, Social Exclusion, Social Inclusion, Misrepresentation, Representation, Social Justice, Participation Action Research, Stewardship of Place
  • Volume: 12
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 1835-2014 (Print)
  • ISSN: 1835-2022 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/1835-2014/CGP/v12i02/69-85
  • Citation: Cutajar, Jos Ann. 2019. "Safeguarding Tangible Heritage in Socially Deprived Areas: The Role Played by a Small Museum." The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum 12 (2): 69-85. doi:10.18848/1835-2014/CGP/v12i02/69-85.
  • Extent: 17 pages

Abstract

Exponents of Critical Heritage studies maintain that people, communities, events, and places linked with the working class are often underrepresented and misrepresented by dominant discourse. Working-class communities tend to be erased from official history or portrayed in a negative light. This article concerns the role played by a social history museum to promote social inclusion through representation made for and with a community faced by detrimental economic, social, and political social changes. Cultural reclamation is crucial for communities that bear the brunt of deindustrialization and the consequent loss of power, leading to social and economic dislocation. Changes in the world’s political economy have endangered many of these communities. These changes also threaten the heritage that provide these social groups with a positive sense of place and identity since low-income areas are often perceived as blighted, in need of bulldozer renewal by urban planners. This participatory action research demonstrates that circumstances may push social history museums to go beyond education and embrace social activism in an effort to bring about social justice.