Values-Based Management

Since the early 1980s, the Getty Conservation Institute has been involved with site management planning through research efforts, professional training courses, symposia, and field projects. During the following decade, it advocated a management planning process based on ICOMOS Australia’s Burra Charter. In 1997, the GCI launched a new initiative called The Agora, an interdisciplinary forum to discuss emerging issues in heritage site management.

In Feb. 2001 the Institute commenced a project examining the role of values in site management, with examples describing and analyzing the processes that connect theoretical management guidelines with management planning and its practical application.

The case studies result from a unique and intense collaboration amongst professionals from the Australian Heritage Commission, Parks Canada, English Heritage, the U.S. National Park Service and the Getty Conservation Institute. They examined Chaco Culture National Historical Park in the United States, Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site in Canada, Port Arthur Historic Site in Australia, and Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site in England. The reports that summarize each case study can be downloaded at:


[click] For 4 case studies and other related material and studies

[click] Chaco Canyon, USA
[click] Grosse Ile, Canada
[click] Port Arthur, Australia
[click] Hadrian's Wall, United Kingdom

The project showed how in each case heritage management is, at its most basic, the process of articulating and then reconciling different values. Each heritage place was managed in accordance with conservation legislation and management plans yet the very process of planning highlighted competing values and interests that needed to be resolved in the plan. The project has important lessons for how heritage is actually managed, how practitioners are moving from site 'dictators' to community 'facilitators,' how tourism and presentation of site values can be reconciled with the obligation to protect cultural values.

The analysis of the management of values in each site has been structured around the following questions:

  • How are the values associated with the site understood and articulated?
  • How are these values taken into account in the site’s management policies and strategies?
  • How do management decisions and actions on site affect the values?

The studies do not attempt to measure the success of a given management model against some arbitrary standard. Rather, they illustrate and explain how four different groups have dealt with the protection of values in their management efforts, and how they are helped or hindered in these efforts by legislation, regulations and other policies. 

Read the article by David Myers and François LeBlanc at:

The first four case studies were undertaken in four English-speaking countries that share a similar cultural background. While studying ‘values’, the partnership considered that it had more chances of success if it was able to easily communicate with the people it met and able to relate to their cultural background.

Then the question was asked: what about values-based management in other cultural regions of the world? The GCI decided to explore this question with a new partner, Jordan. The GCI already was collaborating with the Department of Antiquities of Jordan to train Iraqi professionals in various aspects of site management and developing a computerized national inventory system in collaboration with the World Monuments Fund that would work in English and Arabic.

Together, the Jordan DoA and the GCI agreed to undertake a case study of management of the archaeological site of Jarash, Jordan. It was intended to serve as a teaching resource for heritage educators that will help site managers to identify, understand, and respond to a wide range of values for the sustainable management of cultural heritage sites.

Read my Field Trip report of the team’s visit to Jarash at:

This case also focused on how to account for and deal with site stakeholders in relation to a site’s values and significance, in part through utilizing the concepts and methods of consensus building and conflict resolution. The case study was meant to be used both in university courses for students studying heritage management and in shorter-term training courses, including those for heritage professionals. The publication is available in both English and Arabic to make it accessible to a broader audience.

It can be downloaded at: [click]