In this Newsletter
** ICOMOS in the Information Age
** Madagascar: A New Look at Cultural Properties
** National Preservation Technology and Training Board Members Appointed
** News of Members and Friends
ICOMOS IN THE INFORMATION AGE
In what is probably a first in the history of the World Heritage Convention, a daily newsletter of the proceedings of the annual meeting of the World Heritage Committee, held last December in Cartagena, Colombia, was transmitted electronically to several hundred people and organizations around the world. The electronic distribution of these newsletters was an experiment conducted by the writer to demonstrate the potential of electronic communication for ICOMOS. It was conducted with the cooperation of ICOMOS Canada and a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization, the Institute for Global Communications. The distribution included faxed reports to US/ICOMOS and ICOMOS-UK. Through ICOMOS Canada, the reports were distributed to Canadian heritage site managers and other Parks Canada offices. As a result of this distribution, newsletter readers were the first to know of the decision to place the Everglades National Park on the List of the World Heritage in Danger, and of the thirty-two new sites on the World Heritage List.
To a small non-governmental organization with committees all over the world, the role of communications can be a critical one in the timely dissemination of ideas, policies, press releases and a wide variety of other types of information. An organization such as ICOMOS thrives on its ability to disseminate information to its constituent bodies, the global preservation community and the world at large.
New forms of internal communication were a frequent refrain in ICOMOS’ Future Plan approved by the General Assembly in Sri Lanka. US/ICOMOS, like the international body and other national and specialized committees, should use newly available communication technologies to build new and better relations with other national committees. This form of collaboration is inexpensive — often free. Electronic mail (E-mail) is one of the most powerful tools in this arsenal of telecommunications. (It should not be confused with the office variety of internal e-mail.) E-mail can allow national committees to communicate instantly with their members; it can allow the international body to communicate with its national committees or specialized committees to confer among themselves. It is widely available to anyone with a computer and modem, often at no cost or minimal expense. Commercial services such as Compuserve or America OnLine offer adequate electronic mail access, but better and cheaper access is often possible from nonprofit organizations, universities, or one’s place of business. Even in developing countries, e- mail systems can be set up for a modest investment, and today the global Internet, the network of networks, has direct connections in more than 140 countries.
The new information technology also allows the “posting” of information for more widespread consumption about the work of the organization. One of the most promising developments since mid-February has been the establishment of an ICOMOS “gopher” by members of ICOMOS Canada. A gopher, named after the mascot of the University of Minnesota where it was developed, is an extremely user-friendly information tool on the global Internet. It has the capacity to hold the newsletters of all the national committees, the handbooks of the specialized committees, charters and resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and virtually any other type of graphic or text information the organization might want to display. At the current time, newsletters from Paris, the US and Canada, are available, as well as most ICOMOS charters and resolutions, ICOMOS’ Future Plan, the Eger Principles and the Training Guidelines. Recently, with the agreement of its editor, we have included the text of recent bulletins from the International Council on the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage (TICCIH). Since it was established in mid- February, logs have reported increasing use by readers in Australia, North and South America and Europe.
Another aspect of the telecommunications revolution is the ready access to databases. Today, from one’s home computer, a user can search the libraries of the National Trust at the University of Maryland, of Oxford University, or hundreds of other libraries around the world. Just as easily, one can call up the extensive records of the French inventory of historic structures, the Inventaire Général des Monuments et des Richesses Artistiques de la France.
The revolution that has taken place in information technology is a wonderful opportunity for the organization to transform the way in which it deals both with its own members and with the outside world . US/ICOMOS should explore these opportunities further, through the vehicle of a formal (or informal) committee on telecommunications. A telecom committee would have at least three tasks: 1) to help the organization and its members obtain electronic mail access; 2) to work with ICOMOS Canada, the Paris Secretariat and other national committees to create a global communications structure; and 3) to examine the potential for telecommunication development beyond e-mail — in other words, databases, gopher access, and other possibilities inherent in the Internet.
Members interested in forming such a committee are urged to send an e-mail message to email@example.com or, alternatively, to write to the following address: c/o Dept. of Urban & Environmental Policy, Tufts University, 97 Talbot Avenue, Medford, MA 02155, tel: (617) 627-3694.
MADAGASCAR: A NEW LOOK AT CULTURAL PROPERTIES
Philip Moeller, Senior Institutional Development Specialist, The World Bank
When you first arrive in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, you are immediately captivated by the interplay of Asian, Arab and African Cultures. Built on a series of interconnecting hills, the city plan features a weblike network of steeply graded streets lined with highly decorative masonry structures, most of which were built in the nineteenth century. The assimilation of European architectural elements is quite visible in the facades of these structures, and the Palace of the Queen is an impressive Victorian interpretation of Palladio. Unfortunately, a lack of maintenance and increasing congestion erodes the otherwise considerable charm of the city.
In an effort to rehabilitate infrastructure in the city through contracting to the private sector, the World Bank is supporting the Antananarivo Urban Works Project (AUWP). Following an initial test phase, the main project will become effective mid-summer 1994. The operational guidelines of the Bank require the conduct of environmental assessments, including a review of the impact of any project on the national heritage of a country. Consistent with this perspective, in rehabilitating the streets and interconnecting pedestrian stairwells, the AUWP is removing bituminous surfacing which has been laid more recently and restoring the original hand-set stone paving. This is a labor intensive process which will provide income to semi-skilled laborers and promote the retention of traditional construction methods. Wherever possible the project will draw upon traditional design elements, an example being the plans for a new wrought iron gate for the central public garden.
The World Bank hopes that the idea of using an autonomous agency to contract on behalf of government the performance of services by the private sector will be as effective in Madagascar as it has been in other Bank projects in West Africa. As a model for application to the provision of other services, consideration may be given subsequently to the restoration of historic properties and a broad range of other cultural sites first within the capital and later throughout the country. Capacity building will be associated with this and other Bank projects to ensure a high degree of local participation and the development of local resources to protect the heritage of the country.
The National Park Service has announced the availability of the Directory of Training Opportunities in Cultural Resource Management (Short Term), Oct. 1993-Dec. 1994. This directory is an annual issue of the CRM bulletin, the professional magazine published by the NPS to promote and maintain high standards for preserving and managing cultural resources. The 84-page directory provides information on 255 workshops or courses, varying in length from a few hours or a few days, to a maximum of 6 weeks. For copies or further information: Ms. Emogene Bevitt, National Park Service (424), P.O. Box 37127, Washington, DC 20013-7127, tel: 202-343-9561.
NATIONAL PRESERVATION TECHNOLOGY AND TRAINING BOARD MEMBERS APPOINTED
Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt has appointed 12 new members of the recently established National Preservation Technology and Training Board. Created in 1992, the purpose of the Board is to provide leadership, policy advice and professional oversight to the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training located at Northwestern State University of Louisiana in Natchitoches, Louisiana. A unit of the National Park Service, the Center was created by the 1992 Amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act to coordinate and promote preservation research, distribute information and provide training in preservation skills and technologies. Other responsibilities of the Board include advising the Secretary on priorities and the allocation of grants among the activities of the Center and submitting an annual report to the President and Congress. This fiscal year, Congress has appropriated $1 million for Center operations.
The Board consists of 13 members, the Secretary and 12 appointees. Board members were selected on the basis of outstanding professional qualifications in the fields of archaeology, architecture, conservation, curation, engineering, history, historic preservation, landscape architecture, planning and preservation education.
The 12 appointees are: Dr. Neville Agnew, Special Projects Director, Getty Conservation Institute, Santa Monica, California; Mr. Nicholas Gianopolis, P.E., Chairman, Keast and Hood, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Dr. Jon Gibson, Professor of Anthropology and Director, Center for Archaeological Studies, University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette, Louisiana; Dr. Alferdteen B. Harrison, Director, Margaret Walker Alexander National Research Center and Professor of History at Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi; Dr. James Huhta, Director, Middle Tennessee State University Center for Historic Preservation and Professor of History, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Dr. W. James Judge, Professor of Archaeology, Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado; Dr. Elizabeth A. Lyon, Chief, Office of Historic Preservation, Parks and Historic Sites Division, State of Georgia and State Historic Preservation Officer, Atlanta, Georgia; Mr. Robert Z. Melnick, FASLA, Professor and Head, Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon; Mr. Blair F. Reeves, FAIA, Professor Emeritus of Architecture, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida; Ms. Carolyn L. Rose, Senior Research Conservator, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Mr. Frank E. Sanchis, III, Vice President, Stewardship of Historic Properties, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Washington, D.C.; and Dr. Patty Jo Watson, Professor of Anthropology and Department Chair, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.
NEWS OF MEMBERS AND FRIENDS
The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) awarded its Forbes Medal to Senator Claiborne Pell and Congressman Sidney Yates for their many years of distinguished service to the conservation of cultural property.
US/ICOMOS Board of Trustees member Chester Liebs has been awarded a 9-month Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, to begin fall 1994. He will be advising on historic preservation curriculum development and will undertake a corridor study of the Tokaido Road.
March 31, 1994. First Announcement and Call for Papers for the International Colloquium on Methods of Evaluating Products for the Conservation of Porous Building Materials in Monuments, Rome, Italy, June 1995, organized by ICCROM, under the aegis of the Institut Royal du Patrimoine Artistique (Brussels) and the Istituto Centrale del Restauro (Rome), hosted by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Property. Organized in the context of the conferences on the deterioration and conservation of stone held every 4 years, the colloquium will focus on the problems of evaluating the suitability of products and methodologies for the conservation of porous building materials in monuments. Working languages: English and French; registration fee $400, or $200 for students. Only original papers reporting results of experimental studies or review papers (including long-term monitoring of treated monuments), of good scientific level and written in correct English or French, should be submitted. Titles and related summaries (in English or French) should be mailed or faxed by the end of March 1994 to the Chair of the Organizing Committee: Dr. Marisa Laurenzi Tabasso, Science & Technology Programme, ICCROM, Via di S. Michele 13,1-00153 Rome RM, Italy, tel: 39-6-587-901, fax: 39-6-588-4265. Summaries must not exceed one A-4 page, single spaced.
September 1, 1994. The University of Hawaii at Manoa and the East-West Center invite proposals for papers at the Traditional Architectural Responses to Asian Pacific Climates: Understanding Four Regional Contexts session of the First International Symposium on Asian Pacific Architecture: the East-West Encounter, to be held in Honolulu, Hawaii, March 21-24, 1995. This session will examine the indigenous built cultures of 4 geographically and climatically distinct Asian Pacific regions in order to identify the connections between climatic response and architectural form. Successful papers will require a 2-part investigation. The first step is historical in nature, and requires the identification and description of specific important building traditions for a given region. In the second step, the information regarding architectural form is to be overlaid with the pertinent climatic data to identify issues which can be considered primarily climatic responses. Please submit a 250-word abstract identifying the region and architectural form to be investigated, as well as evidence of familiarity with the region. Abstracts should be postmarked by September 1, 1994, and addressed to Symposium Coordinator, School of Architecture, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822. Graphic material is encouraged. Authors of selected abstracts will receive guidelines to develop a 10-12 page monograph in a standard format.