The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is a research center for ethnology and cultural anthropology.
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The Conservation of Ethnographic Collections

Joint Research Coordinator HIDAKA Shingo

Reserch Theme List

Objectives

Since the bulk of Japan’s technologies for the conservation and handling of ethnographic collections are outgrowths of previous conservation and handling of archaeological materials, they transfer or apply conservation and handling techniques for artifacts dug from the ground. Consequently, the objects being handled are assumed to be made of wood or metal, and the actual situation is that the development of techniques necessary for the conservation of ethnographic collections composed of diverse materials has not progressed. Furthermore, in recent years the number of technicians (craftsmen) who can actually create ethnographic materials has dramatically declined. The question of how to ensure that these techniques survive and ethnographic materials are preserved has become a critical issue.

Based on these concerns, this research has established two objectives. The first is constructing a theory for the conservation of ethnographic collections that will serve as the basic compass for the preservation and handling of ethnographic materials. The second objective is developing new methods for the conservation and handling of ethnographic collections based on this theory for the conservation of ethnographic materials.