ASEMUS Executive Meeting, 2005

Members discussed existing ASEMUS projects as well as lessons learnt from the past projects and ideas for future collaborations.

Minutes below:

Minutes ASEMUS 8th Executive Committee Meeting,

Cordilleras, the Philippines, November 29th 2005

 Participants: Brian Durrans (representing British Museum), Chulamanee Chartsuwan, Chong Phil Choe, Corazon Alvina (Vice-chair§1, Chair §2-7), Kenson Kwok, Steven Engelsman (chair §1), Stéphane Martin (Vice-chair §2-7), Zhou Yanqun (representing the Shanghai Museum) Karl Magnusson (secr.) and Vernetta Belarmino.

Regrets: Claudius Müller, Eva Gesang-Karlström, Robert Knox.

 1. Previous meeting

Minutes from previous meeting (Seoul 2004) adopted.

2. ExCom. issues

Following the ASEMUS Mission Statement 2004-2007 with reference to shifts in Chair and Vice-chair for the Executive Committee, the present European chair, Steven Engelsman of the National Museum of Ethnology in the Netherlands, was succeeded by an Asian colleague, Corazon Alvina from the National Museum of the Philippines. In turn, a new Vice-chair from Europe was to be appointed. By suggestion from Kenson Kwok, the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore, Stephané Martin from the Museum of Quai Branly in France was accepted as new Vice-chair unanimously. Thus the ASEMUS Executive Committee for the period of 2005-2008 has the following members and positions:

 Corazon Alvina, (Chair) National Museum of the Philippines

Stephane Martin, (Vice-Chair) Museum of Quai Branly, France

Chong Pil Choe, Sejong University Museum, Korea

Robert Knox, British Museum, Great Britain

Kenson Kwok, Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore

Steven Engelsman, National Museum of Ethnology, the Netherlands

Chen Xiejun, Shanghai Museum, China

Eva Gesang-Karlstrom, National Museums of World Culture, Sweden

Claudius Mûller, Museum of Ethnology, Munich, Germany

Representative of Japan (vacant)

Representative of Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), Cultural Exchange Section

Karl Magnusson (Secretary) National Museums of World Culture, Sweden

Vernetta Belarmino, Project Executive, ASEF

 Since Uchida Hiroyasu decided to retire from his position as an ExCom member in 2004, the ASEMUS secretariat has been in continuous contact with the International Cultural Exchange Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Government of Japan in order to have a suggestion for a possible successor. However, so far, there have been no concrete propositions from Japan. In order to speed up the process, the ExCom asked Brian Durrans to investigate with Kenji Yoshida from the museum of Ethnology in Osaka and ask for his advice.

During this period of service the ExCom will develop a structural scheme for when and how new members are to be appointed. We need to find an appropriate and efficient model for nominations and elections. The meeting wanted to emphasise that membership in the Excom is institutional and open to all ASEMUS partners.

 3. Status of the 7 ASEMUS projects

 The Travelling Exhibition

The project proceeds and involve at the moment close to 20 participants. The group is at present trying to confirm the different venues for the exhibition and there is an estimate that it will be shown for 6 weeks at each venue. Next meeting is scheduled for January 25-28th 2006 in Stockholm, Sweden. Regarding funds there is a plan that divides the costs in two basic categories, one central for shared costs e.g. travelling of objects and one local for each venue. The coordinators will present a business plan by mid-October.


In early autumn a training course/seminar similar to the one in Kuala Lumpur 2003, was organised in Leiden at the National Museum of Ethnology. It was designed in cooperation with ICCROM under the CollAsia 2010 umbrella and ICOM-CC. A new course is to be organised at the National Museum in Manila, May 8-31 2006.

The development around the exchange of conservation techniques is a good example of how ASEMUS has strengthened and functioned as a catalyst for cooperation between Asian and European institutions. Apart from the multilateral schemes, the bilateral links between institutions have been strengthened substantially.


The project proceeds with support from participating institutions. The original partners in Indonesia and the Netherlands have now also linked up with the Silpakorn University in Thailand.


The ACM in Singapore plans to open a Peranakan museum in the old premises on Armenian Street in 2007. Research and preparation works are carried out in Indonesia, Singapore and the Netherlands.

 Unearthing Philippines Past

One reason for having the ExCom meeting in Manila was the opening of the Pangulo Exhibition at the National Museum. Partly there was material from museums in Europe in the exhibition and in the preparation work several European museums presented inventories of their collections to the curators. As such the exhibition worked as a small version of the bigger plans that is embedded in the project and the National Museum in Manila and the Museum of Ethnology in Hamburg will continue to coordinate and develop the project further.

 Museum outreach and public activities

The Silpakorn University in Thailand and the Chester Beatty Library in Ireland coordinates the project. Unfortunately the first call for applications did not result in that many applications. The ExCom therefore decided that a special invitation should be directed to ASEMUS members to apply. In all we estimate that about 9 exchange schemes could be supported by the present funds. 6 of those will be reserved for ASEMUS members and the additional 3 will again be announced on the website. The deadline for these applications will be February the 15th and they should be confirmed by March 20th in order to fit with the budget process of ASEF

 The Virtual Collection of Masterpieces

The project is proceeding well after the meeting in Leiden in May 2005. The necessary funding for the first phase (100.000€) is almost secured and the project plan was approved by the ExCom. It is coordinated by the National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden and the Kyonggi-do Museum in Seoul, Korea.

 For more info regarding the projects, please visit

 5. ASEMUS website

The site is developed continuously by the Secretariat. Last improvement is a tracking device to measure number of hits, duration etc. For some of the projects such as the VCM and the Trav. Ex., there is a need for some kind of “back-office” with passwords for the inner-group of participants. We have decided to develop these separate from and just provide links on the mutual site. Still, more public presentations of all projects will of course be published on

 6. ASEMUS activities 2005-2008

The discussion around different projects generated some general remarks on lessons learnt so far and ideas for the future:

– It seems that the ASEMUS involvement up to now has been too much top down in each respective institution. In the future we need to involve the actual “doers” – curators, museum teachers, conservators etc – much more. Partly this will be the case when the projects are being realised, but in order to make ASEMUS a natural reference point in the daily work of our staffs much is still to be done.

– The multilateral approach has also strengthened bilateral links between participating museums (see above)

– During this period of time ASEMUS ExCom needs to develop both an action plan as well as to find a proper way to evaluate past and present activities. This is even more important since some of the projects are “without an end” e.g. the Virtual Collection of Masterpieces.

 7. Shift in ASEF Directorship for Cultural Exchange

There is an upcoming shift in the ASEF directorship for Cultural Exchange since the three-year period of Chulamanee Chartsuwan is coming to an end. The ASEMUS ExCom expressed its deep thanks and great appreciation for her support and good spirit over the last years. We wish her every success in future assignments.

 8. Next meeting of ExCom

ASEMUS ExCom will try to gather again in late fall 2006 or early 2007. Most probably in conjunction with a larger conference.

 Karl Magnusson

Secretary of ASEMUS

Gothenburg 2005-12-14

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