Themes

 Participants at the ASEMUS General Conference in Paris, France. Former French President Mr Jacques Chirac (centre in blue suit) with Ambassador Dominique Girard, ASEF Executive Director to his left

Over 80 museum representatives from 29 Asian and European countries met at musée du quai Branly, Paris, France, on 8-10 September for the Asia-Europe Museum Network’s(ASEMUS) General Conference to celebrate 10 years of exchanges furthering Asian heritage.

At the Conference, members agreed to undertake an ambitious “mapping” project to document the collections of all the member museums and create a resource directory of heritage experts. This project will facilitate future joint collaborations between museums and enable better sharing of expertise and best practises.

They also agreed to host the ASEMUS website as part of the Asia-Europe Foundation’s (ASEF) culture portal culture360.org.Initiated by ASEF in 2000, ASEMUS is a unique network for informal dialogue between museums dedicated to Asian heritage in the countries of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

The network has helped member museums to put together successful collaborations, including the travelling exhibition, Self and Other: Portraits from Asia and Europe which involved the collections of 16 museums. This was seen by over 60,000 visitors. Another success story is the Virtual Collection of Masterpieces is an online project documenting over 1,600 art pieces from 83 museums. It also facilitates the exchange of knowledge and the sharing of experiences between museums through its Educational Exchange and Outreach Programme.

The ASEMUS Conference in Paris also welcomed Russia to the ASEM process. Mr Alexander Sedov, Director of the State Museum of Oriental Art, Russia, said, “We will definitely join the [VCM] because we have many oriental masterpieces from Japan, Korea and China which could be added to this website. I think the idea of mapping museums with Asian collections is really great. We can add our museums to the worldwide map of museums with Asian collections.” The event keynote speaker was former French President Jacques Chirac, who is credited with having given impetus to creating the ASEM process in 1996. The Conference host, ASEMUS Chairman and President of musée du quai Branly, Mr Stéphane Martin, said, “Thanks to this network, colleagues from both sides of the Eurasian continent have connected. ASEMUS is truly becoming a cross-cultural network of collaboration between museums.”