International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property
Update from the CollAsia course in…

Update from the CollAsia course in Sarawak, Malaysia

CollAsia logo

Handling, Packing and Moving Collections
Sarawak Museum Department, Kuching, Malaysia

CollAsia has brought together a diverse set of professionals with a combined work experience that makes for valuable exchanges and discussions. Caring for cultural heritage is at the heart of the work of participants and the course team, but different working roles, resources and cultural contexts give rise to unique challenges and solutions, which everyone can learn from.

On 16 January the course hosted a conference at the Natural History Museum, Sarawak History Department. It was attended by almost 50 museum professionals representing over 20 local and international institutions working with the conservation of cultural heritage. Presentations were given by course participants, course team members, Sarawak Museum staff, as well as the Director-General of ICCROM and the Sarawak Museum Department.

Participants have also had the chance to visit cultural centres in the area, such as the Tun Jugah Foundation and the Sarawak Cultural Village.

The Tun Jugah Foundation, established in 1985 and with its headquarters in Kuching, is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Iban culture, arts and language. Its textile museum and galleries aim to provide continuity to traditional methods and promote a greater understanding of Iban textiles and weaving traditions, for the benefit of both the community and the general public. The Weaving Gallery shows live weaving demonstrations by artisans who come to the Foundation to learn, demonstrate and to weave their own pieces. The Foundation also hosts a Bead Gallery, its collection illustrating Borneo’s rich maritime bead trading history.

A visit on 17 January to the Sarawak Cultural Village was a chance not only to see how traditional Sarawak communities handled, packed and moved things, but also to think about the logic behind traditional architecture and how it can be useful in devising strategies for creating sound indoor climates for both people and objects.

This second week is dedicated to understanding risk. Handling, packing and moving collections is not just a question of materials and tools. Understanding and evaluating risk and the vulnerability of specific objects to different agents of deterioration is key to working with collections.