COVID-19 on the ground: Managing the heritage sites of a pandemic

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The standard methodology for the assessment of cultural heritage significance relies on hindsight, with a passage of time elapsed between the creation of the site or object and its assessment. There are, however, cases where heritage significance is instant (e.g., sites associated with the first Moon landing). This paper argues that hindsight will not be required to determine that the COVID-19 pandemic will come to be considered as a significant historic event, as COVID-19 has already manifested itself as a social, cultural and economic disruptor on a global scale with a mortality in the millions. Heritage professionals have the unique opportunity to assess and document places and structures associated with the pandemic, that are poised to be worthy of a heritage listing in the near future, while they are still in use and function as intended. This paper discusses the nature of the sites and structures and explores possible management approaches to safeguard evidence of the pandemic for future generations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2140-2162
Number of pages23
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 03 Sep 2021


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