In the series The Heritage Lexicon, the National Trust (NSW) Deputy CEO, Richard Silink, will peel back the layers of language, meaning and principles of heritage and conservation at work.
What is cultural significance?
- Aesthetic Values – the sensory and perceptual experience of a place, for example, its beauty.
- Historical Values – for example, the history of aesthetics, art and architecture, science, spirituality and society. The history of the place therefore often underlies other values.
- Scientific Values – refers to the information content of a place and its ability to reveal more about an aspect of the past through examination or investigation. For example, the place may be archaeologically important.
- Social Values – refers to the associations that a place has for a particular community or cultural group, and the social or cultural meanings that it holds for them. So, as an example, the local community hall might not look like much chop to outsiders but when you get into the local history you may uncover that this is the place women have been meeting to organise local events or care for children or support one another for over a century.
- Spiritual Values – refers to the intangible values and meanings embodied in or evoked by a place which give it importance in the spiritual identity, or the traditional knowledge, art and practices of a cultural group. Obvious examples here are churches, of course, but of course sacred Aboriginal sites, shrines and other places or artefacts related to worship are what we’re talking about here.
Does cultural heritage matter, and how do we conserve and celebrate it?
- Maintenance – meaning the continuous protective care of a place and its setting. Maintenance is to be distinguished from repair which involves restoration or reconstruction.
- Preservation – means maintaining a place in its existing state and retarding deterioration.
- Restoration – means returning a place to a known earlier state by removing accretions or by reassembling existing elements without the introduction of new material.
- Reconstruction – means returning a place to a known earlier state and is distinguished from restoration by the introduction of new material.
- Adaptation – means changing a place to suit the existing use or a proposed use.