chapter  3
13 Pages

Case Studies of Intangible Natural Heritage from Museum Collections: John A. Long


Intangible natural heritage can refer to environments, geographic places or a set of values embedded within museum artifacts or specimens. In the discussion of this book (Chapter 9), Eric Dorfman and Janet Carding describe intangible natural heritage as heritable environmental forces that create biological and geological entities, as well as the resulting interaction with human communities. A defi nition of intangible values by Allen Putney1 refers to “that which enriches the intellectual, psychological, emotional, spiritual, cultural and /or creative aspects of human existence and well being”. To refer to objects of natural history as steeped in values of intangible heritage brings in the notion of things as ‘events’ or an ‘affecting presence’.2 Taking this further, Kiresheblatt-Gimblett suggests that

natural heritage, conceptualized in terms of ecology, environment and a systematic approach to a living entity, provides a model for thinking about intangible heritage as a totality, rather than as an inventory, and for calculating the intangible value of a living system, be it natural or cultural.3