Ethics and Collecting
What, where, and how to collect is an ethical issue that has worldwide implications. No other social institution has the defined responsibility of preserving materials (objects) for future generations. Only museums have this unique assignment. The idea of preserving the “material evidence of people and their environment” (ICOM 1990:3) should extend beyond the museum to the source of the collections. Museums have an ethical responsibility to preserve the material culture of society as well as the “higher” culture of the humankind. Along with more traditional (movable) museum objects, there is also a need to preserve communities, historic sites, and the ecosystem as generators of culture and daily life.