What is ‘movable heritage’?

‘Movable heritage’ is a term used to define any natural or manufactured object of heritage significance. Movable heritage may be an integral part of the significance of heritage places. It can also belong to cultural groups, communities or regions of New South Wales.

Like other types of heritage, it provides historical information about people’s experiences, ways of life and relationships with the environment. It also helps us to learn about people who may have been left out of written historical accounts, including women and community groups. People’s experiences of migration and settlement are rarely given a voice in official and administrative histories of government migration policies.

Movable heritage can prompt people to remember experiences and reflect family and community histories. Movable heritage can help migrant communities keep their cultures alive and maintain traditions and practices.

Because movable heritage is portable, it is easily sold, relocated or thrown away during changes of ownership, fashion or use. Movable heritage held by ageing migrants is not always valued by the next generation. Movable heritage is vulnerable to loss, damage, theft, dispersal and disposal, often before its heritage significance is appreciated and before people’s migration memories are recorded.

Download Objects in their Place and the Movable Heritage Principles , two guides for the care of movable heritage.

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