Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 4

C U LT U R E A N D D E V E LO P M E N T N o 8 Y E A R 2 0 1 2


Museum, Cultural
Center or Both?
Georgina DeCarli Luckner Christophe
Director of the Latin American Institute of Museums and Parks, ILAM In charge of cultural education and animation at the National
(Costa Rica) Pantheon Museum, MUPANAH (Haiti)

What does collection mean? If a physical co- Christophe, from the Haitian National Pantheon
llection is not exhibited, does it mean that it is Museum, acted as rapporteur.
no longer a museum, but a cultural center? Can a
cultural center include a museum? Is the content The ILAM1 (Latin American Institute of Museums
suitable to transmit the historical and architec- and Parks) currently led by Georgina DeCarli, is
tural values of the building? Should temporary a non-governmental organization with headquar-
collections and activities not directly associated ters in Costa Rica since 1997.
with the collection of a museum be programmed
even if they do not contribute to the museums Its purpose is to support Latin American and
mission? Should they be programmed if they do Caribbean museum institutions by disseminating
not contribute to this purpose? their work (Directory of Latin American Museums
and Parks), training the staff (face to face and
These and other questions were posed during this virtual training), providing access to specialized
working session chaired by Georgina DeCarli, information and developing research, projects
Director of the Latin American Institute of Mu- and advisory services.
seums (ILAM, Costa Rica) while expert Luckner
Georgina DeCarli and Luckner Christophe Museum, Cultural Center or Both? 17


The definition of a museum has evolved throughout time. Today, in accordance with
ICOM Statutes, adopted at the XXII General Conference held in Vienna (Austria) in 2007, a
museum is defined as a non-profitable, permanent institution in the service of society and
opened to the public, which acquires, preserves, studies, exhibits and disseminates the
tangible and intangible heritage for study, education and recreation purposes.

Content of a Museum
The purpose of a museum is to
exhibit the tangible, cultural and
natural heritage of the world. In
order to achieve this objective,
the museum must include sev-
eral functions, namely, preserva-
Before 2007, the definition of museum referred to tion, research and communica-
material evidence, not to tangible and intangible tion.
heritage. This change broadens the concept of
collection to heritage, and the cultural institution Preservation ensures the safe-
is no longer centered on the collection, but on the guarding of collections; research
heritage. is associated with their curator-
Eduardo Len
Jimenes Cultural ship and communication refers
Center, Dominican This breakthrough has an impact on the concept to content dissemination and
of cultural institution itself, where the building, activities to the public.
the presence or absence of a collection, the plan of
activities and research on the content displayed, Nowadays, the use of Internet
has as much significance as the collection itself and social networks (Facebook,
previously had, based on the most traditional con- Twitter, etc.) acquires special
cept of museum. significance to communicate
and inform regular and potential
users about exhibits and cul-
tural programs in museums. In
18 C U LT U R E A N D D E V E LO P M E N T N o 8 Y E A R 2 0 1 2

the case of Cuba, access to this Museum or Cultural Center? The Len Centers mission is to
kind of information is not wide Both museums and cultural promote creativity through re-
enough. centers are non-profitable, search, protection, display and
permanent cultural institutions dissemination of Dominican
As important as it might be, the which are opened to the public artistic and cultural manifesta-
collection does not liven up the and in the service of society and tions and everything that might
museum. The cultural institution its development. contribute to create a society
management of its functions is more sensitive to outstanding
what makes a museum dynamic Activities conducted in parallel values, prouder of itself and ca-
and active. with permanent or temporary pable of actively participating in
exhibits in a museum do not the betterment of the nations
Content of a Cultural Center turn it into a cultural center. It quality of life within the Carib-
The objective of a cultural is still a dynamic, creative and bean framework.
center is to promote cultural living museum. However, some
values among the members of cultural centers have their own On the other hand the Borges3
its community. Its structure is collections and halls for perma- Cultural Center in Buenos
based on broad spaces where nent exhibits. Aires is not a museum, is a
different cultural manifestations cultural center. Housed in the
enrich and liven up the cultural This is clearly stated in the Pacific Galleries, one of the
life of the local population. definition contained in article 2 most outstanding historical
of the International Council of buildings of the city, it has an
Depending on the structure, Museums (ICOM) on museums, active program of national and
there are two different types: cultural centers and other enti- international artistic mani-
ties promoting the preservation, festations, including films,
-Cultural Center (in the field continuity and management of theater, dance, literature,
of university or country). tangible and intangible heritage visual arts, as well as inter-
These are large buildings resources (living heritage and nal publications and training
including, in general, an audi- digital creative activity). workshops.
torium with a stage for theater
performances or film screen- This is the case of the Eduardo Relationship between
ing; a library and videotheque; Len Jimenes2 Cultural Center the Building and its Content.
computer hall; halls for aca- (Santiago de los Caballeros, The relationship between
demic activities or workshops; Dominican Republic) which, the building and the content
language laboratory; galleries even though known as a cultural can bring about a typology of
and sometimes, memorials or center, includes a museum with cultural facilities which can be
permanent exhibits. several halls for permanent easily distinguished.
-Community Cultural Cent- a) When the content recreates
er or Cultural House. the original space, then it is a
These are more modest spaces, museum-house.
generally located in public
buildings. They have a library, b) The content is associated
an area for workshops and with the theme and history of
small cultural presentations, the building. This could be the
and a hall for temporary exhib- case of the Palacio del Segundo
its. They are very significant Cabo (Havana, Cuba) which,
for the community, especially originally being the Postal
for rural areas, since this is the House and residence of the Sec-
only space they have to promote ond Corporal, projects itself as
cultural activities. a center for exchanging cultural
experiences between Cuba and
Georgina DeCarli and Luckner Christophe Museum, Cultural Center or Both? 19

Latin Palacio del Segundo Cabo:

Interpretation Center,
American Museum or Cultural Center?
and Caribbean Following the content descrip-
Mjico 1422 Guatemala 82 Honduras 62 tion and analysis, the session
Cuba 220 Rep. Dominicana 56
Museological discussed the name of the new
Puerto Rico 79 Institutions center to be housed in the Pala-
cio del Segundo Cabo (Havana,
ILAM Cuba), the term should be con-
sistent with the contents to be
Nicaragua 60 exhibited.

From its begining, the project

El Salvador 33 Venezuela 383 considered calling it interpreta-
tion center of Cuban-European
Costa Rica 105 Colombia 432 relations. However, some
experts rejected this proposal,
Panam 50 because the interpretation center
should be located in a histori-
Ecuador 135 cal site, where evidence is to be
Brasil 1748 interpreted, and this is not the
Per 222 case of the Palace.

Bolivia 111 Other experts refused to use the

term museum and proposed the
Chile 192 use of an original term: Palace.
This proposal was not welcomed
because, though it can be used
from the colloquial point of view,
Paraguay 83 the institution should reflect a
cultural reference.
Uruguay 207
c) The content has no associa- That is why participants
tion whatsoever with the his- expressed the possibility of
torical evolution of the building Argentina 1103 calling it cultural center or
as is the case of the Building of even museum, since this term
Universal Art in the National is currently plagued with nega-
Museum of Fine Arts4 (Havana, tive connotations linked to past
Cuba). Today, the Asturian traditional and poorly interac-
Center houses a broad collec- tive museography forms having
tion of artistic pieces from dif- nothing to do with current
ferent geographic origins from museums
Ancient History up to now.
Latin American
Institute of Museums
and Parks (ILAM)
Stairs of the Palacio
del Segundo Cabo
Office of the His-
torian of the City of In order to preserve the histori-
Havana (OHCH)
cal memory of the building, a
monographic hall should be in-
cluded to explain the buildings
history, as foreseen in the case
of the Palacio del Segundo Cabo 1
or as found in the Napoleonic 2
Museum or the Music Museum, 3
both located in Havana. 4