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August 2010

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Paul Meszaros

To Our Editor Elissa!
A magnificent edition indeed. I hope you get lots of support for your new interactive styling for aMUSine.

Andrew Simpson

Shanghai 2010 ICOM Conference

Over 3300 museum people have descended on Shanghai for the 2010 ICOM conference. The main sessions are being held at the World Expo site next to the Huanpu River.

Things happen on a different human scale in China. This is by far the largest ICOM meeting ever. The World Expo closed at the end of October after attracting a phenomenal 70 million visitors. Just a few short years ago, Shanghai had about 6 metro train lines running through the city, now they have 11.

In a place that is changing so fast, what does heritage mean? What role do museums play in such a society. I was told that in China a new museum opens about once every three days.

This is possible of course because museums are not passive keepers of the past, but active "shapers" of the future. They are places of interaction where many different voices can be heard, places of discourse and dialogue between different cultures and different world views. Social harmony through intercultural exchange is the theme of this ICOM conference. Museums have become theatres in which we are all participants seeking engagement,inclusion, understanding and a better world.

Some great keynote talks on this theme today in the opening session. Delegates will now break up into their myriad international committees and regional alliances to pursue their more specialised and particular agendas.

In the backrooms of the ICOM machine, a "Shanghai declaration" is being formulated.

Andrew

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