11536 - Roots 2 Share, challenges of sharing collections through the Internet

Four museums, two in the Netherlands and two in Greenland started a partnership to bring the Dutch photographs back to East Greenland. The project in visual repatriation started in 2010. In November a group of local experts visited in the Netherlands invited by Leiden to discuss collection from their cultural heritage. This sharing knowledge and cultural heritage (SK&CH) process was filmed and the discussions will be translated. Two exhibitions will be made in 2011 of which one in close cooperation with Greenlandic counterparts and will travel to Greenland. A website ‘Roots2Share.org’ with possibilities for East Greenlanders living in Greenland, Denmark and abroad to add their own information through ‘social tagging’ in their own language will be the final result. The project will end in 2014, however, the website, relationships with the source community and the new dynamics of traditional collections will be a lasting heritage for future generations. Greenlanders participating in Dutch collections builds a dialogue on many aspects of their own culture housed in the Netherlands. Ancestors are recognized on old photographs; children toys made and used by themselves in the past was discovered, the discussions started on whose heritage we are dealing with, and what languages – local or national – are most applicable to use in relation to local heritage. Repatriation was not the first aim of the Greenlandic consultants, however they consider these collections as ‘their own’ and this may develop during time if the situation becomes more politicized. Access to their cultural heritage, being respected as owners of it and experts in it, and cooperation with the Dutch museum staff is central in the project and opens up a dialogue between the parties involved.

Keywords: Collaboration, sharing cultural heritage, museums and the web, Greenland

Author: Buijs, Cunera (National Museum of Ethnology, Netherlands, Netherlands / Niederlande)
Co-Author: Veerman Diederik


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