Part 3: Cultural Heritage in the Making

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • identify different types of emerging heritage.
  • discuss the merits and challenges of identifying and preserving emerging heritage.

Susan Pearce believes that we can, “without great difficulty, single out some factors in the contemporary world that have global significance and that bear on issues relating to the construction of cultural heritage” (62). She calls this construction “cultural heritage in the making,” and she feels “today ’s ‘lifestyle’ is being transmuted into tomorrow ’s ‘cultural heritage’” (63). We might perhaps expand on the word “lifestyle” to encompass “once-in-a-lifetime events” (such as a global pandemic), “world-wide concerns” (such as climate change), and “change-makers” (such as Black Lives Matter) among other forms of potentially emerging cultural heritage.

“Cultural heritage in the making” anticipates if something happening in the present may one day be considered cultural heritage, rather than if something from the past should be considered heritage. It asks us to think about future heritage in the moment it is being created. It also raises questions of how and what should be preserved in order to record these events.

Activity 1.3

  • Look closely at each of these artifacts.
  • Think carefully about the previous discussions of the definitions of cultural heritage.
  • Consider the context of each of these artifacts. You may look up information as needed.
  • Decide if you believe each one is cultural heritage in the making. Why or why not?
  • Think about ways we might preserve the events these artifacts represent.

Food for Thought: Activity 1.3 Artifacts

After reading the following notes and questions to consider, determine if you have anything to add to your decision about whether each artifact represents cultural heritage in the making.



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