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Communitarian initiatives on cultural heritage: preservation, achievements and challenges

Lopez-Maldonado, Yolanda; Castillo-Burguete, Maria Teresa

In Mexico there are major museums that show the historical greatness of both places and people. But although the wealth that exists in almost all the national territory is vast, great museums could hardly contain it all. In Mexico there are initiatives to establish rural community museums showing the appreciation and interest that local people have for their heritage resources, hence the conservation work should also consider its inhabitants. The existing experience shows the need to adapt the work of institutions like INAH, without undermining their efforts to safeguard the assets, to include such initiatives in this work. The population of Sisal, principal seaport during the colonial era, shows part of the achievements and challenges that these initiatives. The objective was to analyze the processes of asset management in the community of study. We identified the achievements and challenges in the management processes by using a qualitative approach, applying interviews and direct observation. We did twenty one semi-structured interviews with major adults, fishermen, housewives and municipal and ejido authorities. This paper highlights the approach in relation to Sisal heritage management, identifies the problems, achievements and challenges faced by its inhabitants and makes findings and recommendations for the future. Finally, we identify factors that interact with the heritage and believe that the participation of the community is important for managing the assets in question to define its future conservation. The data collected show that the port through an initial stage for the development of cultural tourism that could generate positive implications for both economic and social and cultural rights. The experience of Sisal could serve as an example for other communities in the region.

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