As part of the Getty Conservation Institute's China Principles project—designed to develop nationally applicable principles to guide the conservation and management of cultural heritage sites in China—the GCI hosted a delegation from China and Australia for a study tour of heritage sites in the United States. The April 24 - May 10 study tour began with a one-week visit hosted by the U.S. State Department to the Washington, D.C., area, followed by a week in New Mexico and three days in Los Angeles. The project is a collaboration of the GCI with China's State Administration for Cultural Heritage (SACH) and the Australian Heritage Commission.
Site visits in Washington, D.C., New Mexico, and Los Angeles included discussions with site managers, interpreters, park rangers, park superintendents, state preservation officers, archaeologists, private practitioners, and others charged with the care and management of the sites.
The Washington, D.C., segment of the tour included meetings with the U.S. Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the National Park Service, and US/ICOMOS, as well as a number of site visits. In New Mexico, the delegation toured national monuments, state monuments, and privately owned cultural heritage sites. The delegation also met with tribal leaders at Acoma Pueblo, one of the oldest continually inhabited sites in the United States. In addition, they met with leaders of Cornerstones Community Partnership, which works with communities to revitalize and restore their historic/traditional buildings.
In Los Angeles, the delegation's visit included a tour of El Pueblo de los Angeles Historic Monument. At the Getty Center, the delegation met with GCI director Tim Whalen and toured the Museum, the gardens, and the conservation and scientific labs. GCI staff participated in a presentation by members of the Chinese delegation, followed by a roundtable on impressions of the sites visited, special challenges facing sites in China, and the application of the China Principles.
"While in the U.S., we were impressed by the commitment to conservation of cultural heritage on all levels, especially on the community level," said Zhang Bai, deputy director of SACH and leader of the Chinese delegation. "We were also very pleased with the great variety of the sites we visited—from Colonial Williamsburg and Chaco Canyon to the Gamble House. Our visits and our honest and open discussions with the people charged with the preservation of these treasures will be very helpful in refining and finalizing the China Principles document."
In the fall, the Principles will be released under the auspices of China ICOMOS, with the endorsement of SACH. At that time, the sites to be used by the Chinese Principles team for application of the Principles will be selected. Publication in English of the Principles and an illustrated version, which will include case studies, is also planned.
Members of the China Principles Project
People's Republic of China
Foreign Affairs Office, SACH
Archaeology Group, SACH
National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, Beijing
National Committee for the Protection of Historic Cities, Beijing
Dunhuang Research Academy, Gansu Province
Bureau of Cultural Heritage and Gardens of the City of Chengde, Hebei Province
Director, Division of Cultural Heritage
Provincial Department of Culture, Fujian Province
Australian Heritage Commission
Former Executive Director
Senior Conservation Officer
Getty Conservation Institute
Principal Project Specialist
Senior Project Specialist