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National Museums: Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage

Role of Bangladesh National Museum to guard Intangible Cultural Heritage: A Review

Bangladesh Country wide Museum


This paper goals to research the role of Bangladesh National Museum to safeguard intangible cultural traditions which is considered as the fundamental of tangible culture. Regrettably, for the contentious impact of modernization, our intangible cultural heritages are under serious threat to its life which is very alarming for all of us because if we neglect to maintain our intangible social heritage, we will eventually lose our entity as a distinctive region in the map of the world. National Museum as a pioneer corporation of the government play effective role to safeguard intangible cultural history in many ways.

  1. Introduction:

The cultural history of Bangladesh is very rich and historically highly regarded by the entire world community as it offers uniqueness and specialities which are extremely distinct in identity. This heritage includes both tangible and intangible ethnicities. From your primitive age to the present day Bangladesh is an arable soil of intangible cultural heritage like tune, rituals, tradition, dance, performing fine art, festive, games, dishes, folktales and architecture. etc and these intangible heritages have significant affect on the way of life of the individuals which makes Bangladeshi people specific from other nations. It should be pointed out that the tangible culture of Bangladesh is very distinctively unique like build, different type of objects and everything antiquities.

Bangladesh Country wide Museum has started its quest in 1913 as Dhaka Museum. Dhaka Museum was located at Nimtoli Baro Duari area of Dhaka with two rooms. Eventually, Dhaka Museum changed improved as Bangladesh National Museum in 1983 and shifted to provide building at Shahbag. Bangladesh National Museum has a collection of near 86 thousand antiquities. Like a wing of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, People's Republic of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Namtional Museum is participating in vaital role to preserve tangible and intangible heritage of the united states and portraying abundant, positive and dazzling image in front of the planet community. On August 7, 2013 Bangladesh Country wide Museum celebrated its a century of establishment. In its long trip, it has used many milestone initiatives to safeguard intangible ethnic heritages.

1. 1 Methodology

Both most important and secondary data have been used to prepare this paper. Most important data were collected from the interview and debate of the Bangladesh Country wide Museum staffs. And supplementary data were collected from different catalogs, publications and articles.

  1. What is Intangible Cultural Heritage?

When sociologists speak about culture, they may be more interested about the features of society which are learnt somewhat than inherited and these features help users of the modern culture to co-operate and talk to the other person which facilitate those to create common program to endure in a world. Culture contains both intangible aspects and tangible aspects. Intangible aspects include belief, ideas, beliefs and tangible aspect includes the objects, symbols and systems which correspond to that aspect (Giddens, 2001). Culture comes from the Latin expression 'colere' means 'to cultivate' to 'to till the land'. Smelse (1993) identified culture as 'a group of prices, views of simple fact, and codes of behavior, presented in keeping people who share a distinctive way of life'. Schaefer (2006) identified culture as ' totality of learned, socially transmitted customs, knowledge, material items, and patterns'. Giddens (2001) has given a broader view about culture. He says that culture identifies the means of life of the associates of the modern culture, or of groups within a population.

Ways of life of the members of the world or group contain tangible and intangible culture. Intangible culture can't be handled which is opposing to the tangible. Intangible culture includes song, music, dilemma, skills, and others. Basic Texts of the 2003 convention for the safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural History identified Intangible Cultural Heritage in webpage site-5 as

'. . . . . . . . . . . . . . the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills-as well as the musical instruments, objects, artifacts, and ethnical spaces associated therewith-that neighborhoods, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural history. This intangible heritage, transmitted from technology to generation, is constantly related by areas and teams in response to their environment, their connection with characteristics and history, and provides them with a sense of identification and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural variety and human imagination. . . . . . . . . . '

'. . . . . the intangible Cultural Traditions, as identified above, is manifested inter alia the next domains:

  1. Oral practices and expressions, including terminology as a vehicle of the intangiable cultural heritage;
  2. Performing arts;
  3. Social methods, rituals and festive occurrences;
  4. Knowledge and techniques concerning mother nature and the universe;
  5. Traditional workmanship. . . . . . . . . . . '
  1. Why should Intangible Culture be safeguarded?

Basic Texts of the 2003 convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage described 'Safeguarding' in page site-6 as

'. . . . . . . . 'Safeguarding' means methods aimed at making sure the viability of the intangible cultural heritage, including the identification, documentation, research, preservation, safety, promotion, enhancement, transmission, particularly through formal and casual education, as well as the revitalization of the many aspect of such history. . . . . . . . . . . . . . '

It is definitely very important to safeguard intangible cultural history like tangible social heritage. In fact, intangible cultural heritage is cured as the building blocks of tangible ethnical traditions. If we do not take appropriate measure to guard intangible cultural heritage, it'll be very difficult for us to preserve and cherish our culture. Westernization, Americanization, Indianization, Urbanization, industrialization and above all due to impact of the globalization our norms, beliefs and rituals are changing and many of our folkways, morse and folk culture are disappearing plus some are getting rid of distinctiveness. Due to the info technology and mass media, foreign culture is now a part of our culture and influencing our life in lots of ways.

To can be found as an ethnic group so that a nation it is really essential to safeguard our intangible which is recognized as the manufacturing aspect of tangible culture. To safeguard intangible cultural traditions public awareness, collective efforts of local community and government company and appropriate regulations are needed. Some specific steps should be studied;; Identification of intangible cultural heritage, planning of inventory and benefits of awareness programme (UNESCO, 2012).

  1. Role of Bangladesh Country wide Museum in Preserving Cultural Traditions

4. 1 The Oral Background of Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a land of poets, novelists, intellectuals, politicians, artists and journalist who greatly added and, in simple fact, are contributing to the socio-cultural development of the united states and without this contribution world cannot be progressive or as a region we're able to not have the ability to identify as an enlightened region. Henceforth, in 1985 Bangladesh countrywide Museum has used a landmark initiative to interview eminent personalities of different domains in sound format and US Ford Basis was kind enough to fund the job considering the value and need which eventually helped enrich the collection of Bangladesh National Museum and opened up an opportunity for the new generation to learn about their distinguished predecessors and their views and school of thought of life and the society as a whole. The project subject was 'The Dental Background of Bangladesh'. Under this job, Bangladesh National Museum could interview 100 eminent personalities including Abu Jafar Shamsuddin, Justice Abdus Sattar, journalist Md. Nasir Uddin, Poet Sufia Kamal, article writer Monsur Uddin, Mokhlesur Rahman (shidhu mia), Basonti Guha Thakurota, Doc. Ahashanul Haque, with two different views firstly, to maintain the biography of these individuals and secondly, to draw out socio-cultural, political and economic condition of the country of that time through their interviews. It had been expected that audio archive would able to are a store house of knowledge for many research and referrals in future. Understanding the reality and significance, Bangladesh National Museum has used further initiative to publish a book transforming the audios known as 'A Hand Book of Oral Background' in British which is stored in the catalogue of the museum and accessible for the individuals in large(Bangladesh Country wide Museum, 1992). Keeping that success at heart and realizing the value, national museum expert has initiated second phase of the project from 2012 where another 100 folks are enlisted to be interviewed and it might be recorded in video format and a booklet will be released in anticipated course. This task is running efficiently and ten interviews are already recoded. Teacher Shordar Fajlul Karim, Mostofa Nurul Islam, Professor Shalauddin and Nurjahan Begum impressive are included in this.

4. 2 Cultural Traditions of Districts

Another notable step in respect of safeguarding intangible ethnic heritage taken by Bangladesh countrywide Museum was the making of video documentary of few districts that have historical traditions and are famous for rich culture. The districts are Rajbari, Mymensingh, Panchagor, Dinajpur, Rajshahi, Thakurgaon, Naogaon, Cumilla, Chittagong, Kushtia, Bhola, Pirojpur, Coxes Bazar, Bandorbon, Netrokona, Tangail, Jinaidaha and Bhola. The effort was manufactured in the entire year 1993. Three different steps were taken up to complete the offer. Firstly, all the historical places were documented in video recording format and narration was added down the road, secondly, by using the Area Commissioner office a good was arranged and recorded accordingly to show the festive setting of Bangladeshi culture and its own interior artifacts and folk song, Ghetu gan, lati khela, palagan, putulnach, snake-charming were included in the reasonable as well, finally, interview of the neighborhood eminent people were noted as witness assertions to bring our the history, culture and custom more authentically.

It should be pointed out here that lots of historical places were comprehensively protected under this project like pirojpur kumar para, sundorbon, Monpura in Bhola area (Floating area), kantojirmondir in Dinajpur, Kusumba mosque in Naogaon, laloner mazar in Kustia, moynamoti in Comilla, paharpur bihar in Rajshahi including local famous mosques and temples.

4. 3 Gramophone Record of famous Singers

Bangladesh National Museum as a catalyst to maintain national history and heritage has 123 gramophone record of many famous singers of Bangladesh which isn't only significant in the history of Bangladeshi music but also guide source for future research. The documents include the track of Abbasuddin, Kanon Devi, Komoldas Gupto, Shochin Dev Bormon, Baul Tune etc.

4. 4 Documentary on Liberation War

In the year 1996 December, seven days long Reminiscence Programme on Liberation Warfare was arranged by Bangladesh Country wide Museum. Seven different teams of people distributed their recollections of Liberation War and it was registered in training video format and the categories were constituted with Civil Independence Fighter, Politicians, Cultural Personalities, Journalists and Artists, Administrative Officer of the Mujib Nagar Authorities, representative of Military services, Para- Government and Police, family members of the Intellectual Martyrs and customers of the Shadin Bangla Beter Kandro. The video documentary is preserved in Bangladesh National Museum as one of the valued documents of Liberation War with adaptable information.

4. 5 Documentary on Shitol Pati and Rickshaw Painting

Documentary on Shitol Pati and Rickshaw Painting was made in the entire year 1999. A team from Bangladesh National Museum visited Balagonj of Sylhet district which is famous for Shitol Pati and made a documentary on that. All of the steps of Shitol pati fabrication was documented, beginning with cane collection to weaving. National Museum representatives also went to Rayer Bazar of Dhaka which really is a famous place for Rickshaw Painting to record the approach of Rickshaw Painting which is recognized as colorful folk car paint.

4. 6 Celebration of Bangla New Year

Bangladesh Country wide Museum takes effort to celebrate Bangla New Time every year and reasonable and cultural programme performed by folk musician are organized within the party. In New 12 months good different stalls sit with Pittha, handicrafts, pottery, dolls, local home decor, local musical musical instruments among others. Performers and singers from all over the country are invited in the New Year cultural rational. Concerned department of Bangladesh National Museum gives serious efforts to bring the artists from different parts of the country targeting those types of artists who've unique ability to execute folk song that are under serious threat of the impact of so called modern melody. Our indigenous melodies like Baul, Lalon, Vatiary, Jari, Sari and Pala are performed by the musician which create the eye among the list of spectators and present them chance to reiterate their love to the indigenous song. This effort of Bangladesh Country wide Museum should be considered as a perfect inventiveness to transfer and promote indigenous song in a turbulent ethnic atmosphere.

4. 7. Exhibition of Traditional folk craft:

Every calendar year Bangladesh Country wide Museum arranges an exhibition on our traditional art. Here they exhibit the process of build, like jamdani weaving, Shitol pati weaving, pottery making, tribal material weaving, Shola crafts, metallic crafts etc. Every year Bangladesh Country wide Museum arranges this exhibition to encourage the folk artists and also speared out this knowledge our new era.

  1. Conclusion

From the above conversation it is evidently understood a leading organization of Bangladesh Administration, Country wide Museum is taking numerous steps to guard intangible cultural traditions through research, identification, documentation, preservation, safety, promotion, enhancement, transmission, especially through formal and informal methodology, as well as the revitalization of the various aspect of such heritage. For a few predicaments like inadequate budget, bureaucracy, training and other requirements Museum struggles to prolong the limit of its procedure when it comes to safeguard intangible ethnic traditions. If these problems are fixed, in case, it can work to its desired level, in future, she could play a very effective role to safeguard intangible cultural traditions which she is doing with plenty of pride regarding tangible cultural heritage.


Bangladesh National Museum (19912) A Hand Book of Oral Record. Dhaka: Director Standard, Bangladesh Country wide Museum

Ginnens, Anthony (1997) Sociology. Cambridge: Polity Press

Smelser, Neil J. (1993) Sociology. New Delhi: Prentice Hall of India

Schaefer, Richard T. (2006) Sociology. New York: McGraw Hill

UNESCO (2012) Basic Texts of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Traditions. France

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