This week, I met the Arches team in London. A joint project of the Getty Conservation Institute and World Monuments Fund, Arches is an open source heritage inventory platform. Last month, I connected with Tim Whalen, GCI Director, following an introduction from Mary Anthony of the 1772 Foundation. We discussed the system and the GCI kindly agreed to give a demonstration at the Bermuda Conference.
So whilst Alison Dalgity and Dennis Wuthrich were in London, we took the opportunity for a pre-meet. It was good to find out more about the system and their plans for the Bermuda information session.
Without getting into too much technical detail, I see Arches as a valuable tool for Trusts around the world. Some INTO members are already in charge of a heritage inventory or listing process. Arches would ensure that data is really safe and future-proof. In addition, INTO members might use it to engage local people in the process of identifying special places. (Moreover, Alison and Dennis are going to unveil the new app in Bermuda.) Arches could also prove beneficial in times of crisis. When a hurricane hits, does everyone know where the important heritage is, for example? And lastly, I wondered whether the platform could be a clever way to link together INTO members’ sites across the world.
So, lots of reasons to come along to the information session and/or track down Dennis and Alison over the week!
Inventories are an essential tool for all organisations responsible for safeguarding cultural heritage places. They provide the information needed for making informed decisions and applying heritage-related laws and policies. And digital inventories that harness the capabilities of modern information technologies have huge potential.
What’s great about Arches is that it is freely available, furthermore easily customised to meet specific needs. Who really wants to be outlaying money on such things, when there are so many other pressing needs?
We are very excited that Alison and Dennis will be joined by Assistant Professor Brent Fortenberry. An academic with extensive knowledge of the region, Dr Fortenberry will share his practical experiences with Arches. I’m very much looking forward to this session in Bermuda and will share as much as possible with those not able to attend.
Thanks for reading!
* Underneath the Arches by Joseph McCarthy Jr, Bud Flanagan and Reg Connelly (c) Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC