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Cultural resources management

In the broadest sense, cultural resources management (CRM) is the vocation and practice of managing cultural resources, such as the arts and heritage. It incorporates Cultural Heritage Management which is concerned with traditional and historic culture. It also delves into the material culture of archaeology. Cultural resources management encompasses current culture, including progressive and innovative culture, such as urban culture, rather than simply preserving and presenting traditional forms of culture.

However, the broad usage of the term is relatively recent and as a result it is most often used as synonymous with heritage management. In the United States, cultural resources management is not usually divorced from the heritage context. The term is, "used mostly by archaeologists and much more occasionally by architectural historians and historical architects, to refer to managing historic places of archaeological, architectural, and historical interests and considering such places in compliance with environmental and historic preservation laws."

Cultural resources include both physical assets such as archaeology, architecture, paintings and sculptures and also intangible culture such as folklore and interpretative arts, such as storytelling and drama. Cultural resource managers are typically in charge of museums, galleries, theatres etc., especially those that emphasize culture specific to the local region or ethnic group. Cultural tourism is a significant sector of the tourism industry.

At a national and international level, cultural resource management may be concerned with larger themes, such as languages in danger of extinction, public education, the ethos or operation of multiculturalism, and promoting access to cultural resources. The Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity is an attempt by the United Nations to identify exemplars of intangible culture.

This article is concerned with cultural resources in the widest sense: for traditional, archaeological and historic culture specifically, also see cultural heritage management
  • Historic properties (as listed or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places)
  • Older properties that may have cultural value, but may or may not be eligible for the National Register
  • Historic properties that have cultural value beyond their historicity
  • Archeological graves and cultural items
  • Shipwrecks
  • Museum collections
  • Historical documents
  • Religious sites
  • Religious practices
  • Cultural use of natural resources
  • Folklife, tradition, and other social institutions
  • Theater groups, orchestras, and other community cultural amenities
  • American Cultural Resources Association. 2013. The Cultural Resources Management Industry: Providing Critical Support for Building Our Nation’s Infrastructure through Expertise in Historic Preservation. Electronic document. [1]
  • Hutchings, Rich. 2014. “The Miner’s Canary”—What the Maritime Heritage Crisis Says About Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management, and Global Ecological Breakdown. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Interdisciplinary Studies, University of British Columbia. [2]
  • Hutchings, Rich and Marina La Salle. 2012. Five Thoughts on Commercial Archaeology. Electronic document. [3]
  • King, Thomas F. 2012. Cultural Resource Laws and Practice: An Introductory Guide (4th Edition). Altamira Press. [4]
  • King, Thomas F. 2009. Our Unprotected Heritage: Whitewashing the Destruction of Our Cultural and Natural Environment. Left Coast Press. [5]
  • King, Thomas F. 2005. Doing Archaeology: A Cultural Resource Management Perspective. Left Coast Press. [6]
  • La Salle, Marina and Rich Hutchings. 2012. Commercial Archaeology in British Columbia. The Midden 44(2): 8-16. [7]
  • Neumann, Thomas W. and Robert M. Sanford. 2010. Cultural Resources Archaeology: An Introduction (2nd Edition). Rowman and Littlefield. [8]
  • Neumann, Thomas W. and Robert M. Sanford. 2010. Practicing Archaeology: A Training Manual for Cultural Resources Archaeology (2nd Edition). Rowman and Littlefield. [9]
  • Nissley, Claudia and Thomas F. King. 2014. Consultation and Cultural Heritage: Let Us Reason Together. Left Coast Press. [10]
  • Smith, Laurajane. 2004. Archaeological Theory and Politics of Cultural Heritage. Routledge. [11]
  • Smith, Laurajane. 2001. Archaeology and the Governance of Material Culture: A Case Study from South-Eastern Australia. Norwegian Archaeological Review 34(2): 97-105. [12]
  • Smith, Laurajane. 2000. A History of Aboriginal Heritage Legislation in South-Eastern Australia. Australian Archaeology 50: 109-118. [13]
  • Stapp, Darby and Julia J. Longenecker. 2009. Avoiding Archaeological Disasters: A Risk Management Approach. Left Coast Press [14]
  • White, Gregory G. and Thomas F. King. 2007. The Archaeological Survey Manual. Left Coast Press. [15]
  • Zorzin, Nicolas. 2014. Heritage Management and Aboriginal Australians: Relations in a Global, Neoliberal Economy—A Contemporary Case Study from Victoria. Archaeologies: The Journal of the World Archaeological Congress 10(2): 132-167. [16]
  • Zorzin, Nicolas. 2011. Contextualising Contract Archaeology in Quebec: Political Economy and Economic Dependencies. Archaeological Review from Cambridge 26(1): 119-135. [17]


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