Part III - Cultural Ressource Management Policy
Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats on the "Contact Us" page.
3.0 Activities of Cultural Resource Management
3.1 Corporate Direction
Parks Canada will ensure the application of the principles and practice of cultural resource management in all activities that may affect cultural resources and the historic character of those resources.
The principles and practice of cultural resource management will apply to those contracts, leases, licences, concessions or agreements that affect cultural resources administered by Parks Canada.
Effective planning sets out the ways and means by which cultural resources will be cared for and presented. Planning activities flow from policy objectives and adhere to policy principles. Through these activities Parks Canada ensures that the elements of good cultural resource management practice are in place in all systems and processes.
Long-range direction for the management of the cultural resources at each national park, national historic site and historic canal is established through the processes of management and service planning.
Given the multi-disciplinary nature of cultural resource management, planning practices will integrate in a timely fashion the contributions of responsible disciplines.
Management planning for a national historic site will be based on the commemorative objectives that led to the designation and acquisition of the site. Primary themes developed in the course of management planning will be consistent with that designation. When, as a result of further research, it is considered that a primary theme should be changed, the matter will be referred to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. The goal of management planning for national historic sites is to ensure the commemorative integrity of national historic sites and the application of cultural resource management principles and practice.
Management plans for national historic sites that have been designated World Heritage Sites will contain strategies for protecting and promoting the values that resulted in this international designation.
Management planning that affects cultural resources in national parks will deal with cultural resources on the basis of this policy and will be consistent with human history themes established for a park.
Because cultural resources are managed for public benefit, public consultation is essential in planning. The principles of this policy will form part of the terms of reference for all public consultation regarding the management of cultural resources.
Parks Canada will cooperate actively with other appropriate agencies with respect to shared cultural resource management concerns in land use planning, tourism and marketing.
If, following the acquisition or establishment of a national park, national historic site or historic canal, additional lands or objects are required to meet program objectives, these will be identified and acquired in accordance with established authorities and planning processes.
3.2.8 When regulations are considered necessary for the effective management of public activities at a national historic site administered by Parks Canada, regulations made under an appropriate statutory authority will be applied.
Ongoing research and investigation will be carried out as they are essential to the success of cultural resource management. Research is fundamental to the achievement of conservation objectives, high-quality interpretation and public programs, and the advancement of knowledge.
Research and the results of research will be the basis for activities that have an impact on cultural resources and their presentation.
Results of research will be made available to the public in the form of publications and other media.
3.3.3 Parks Canada will cooperate with other professionals, research agencies and individuals to achieve mutual objectives.
Conservation encompasses the activities that are aimed at the safeguarding of a cultural resource so as to retain its historic value and extend its physical life. There are conservation disciplines that address different kinds of cultural resources. All share a broad concept of conservation that embraces one or more strategies that can be placed on a continuum that runs from least intervention to greatest; that is, from maintenance to modification of the cultural resource.
In planning conservation activities Parks Canada will ensure first and foremost the basic protection of its cultural resources. With regard to cultural resources, the highest obligation is to the protection and presentation of resources of national historic significance.
In undertaking conservation activities Parks Canada is especially cognizant of the principles of respect for the existing form and material that constitute the historic character of a cultural resource. Conservation activities will therefore involve the least possible intervention to achieve objectives.
In dealing with issues relating to the protection of existing fabric and enhancement through modification for presentation, Parks Canada will apply the five principles of cultural resource management to determine the most appropriate treatment. Respect for historic value will be the central consideration.
In determining the most appropriate conservation treatment, consideration will be given to the following factors:
i) the historic character of the cultural resource as determined through evaluation;
ii) the physical condition, integrity and context of the resource;
iii) the impact of the treatment on the integrity of historic fabric and character;
iv) available documentation and information;
v) the opportunities for presentation and potential appropriate uses of the resource; and
vi) available financial and human resources.
Activities involving some replacement are the most interventionist of conservation activities and will be the last to be considered.
The reproduction, reconstruction or replication of a cultural resource will be considered as an interpretative option, not as a conservation activity. These activities are addressed in section 3.5.2 on Interpretation.
Conservation involves not just a once-in-a-lifetime intervention to a cultural resource but equally its routine and cyclical maintenance. Parks Canada will employ conservation maintenance to mitigate wear and deterioration without altering the performance, integrity or appearance of a resource.
Preservation encompasses conservation activities that consolidate and maintain the existing form, material and integrity of a resource. Preservation includes short-term protective measures as well as long-term actions to retard deterioration or prevent damage. Preservation extends the life of the resource by providing it with a secure and stable environment.
Preservation activities will involve the least possible physical intervention and, in the case of interim measures, be as reversible as possible, so as not to jeopardize long-term conservation options. In the case of long-term measures, preservation activities ensure the stability and security of a resource so that it can be kept serviceable through routine maintenance.
Modification encompasses conservation activities that may change the existing form or materials through treatments, repair, replacement of missing or deteriorated parts, or recovery of earlier known forms and materials. It involves a higher level of intervention than preservation. Modification may be undertaken in order to satisfy new uses or requirements, compatible with the historic character of a resource, as in the case of appropriate adaptive re-use of a structure; or to reveal, recover or represent a known earlier state of a resource, which is called restoration. Modification may involve some replacement of fabric.
Parks Canada will base modification on a sound knowledge of, and respect for, the historic character of the resource; particularly as that character is expressed by the existing form and material of the resource.
Parks Canada will assess and consider the impact of proposed modification activities on the historic character of cultural resources and will identify and consider the consequences of modification using the cultural resource management principles of value, public benefit, understanding, respect and integrity.
Restoration is a modification activity that will require clear evidence and detailed knowledge of the earlier forms and materials being recovered.
184.108.40.206 In the case of sites and structures, modification may include the activities of period restoration, and of rehabilitation for purposes of safety, property protection and access.
i) Period restoration is the accurate recovery of an earlier form, fabric and detailing of a site or structure based on evidence from recording, research and analysis, through the removal of later additions and the replacement of missing or deteriorated elements of the earlier period. Depending on the intent and degree of intervention, period restoration may be a presentation rather than a conservation activity.
ii) Rehabilitation is the modification, including adaptive re-use, of a resource to meet various functional requirements while preserving the historic character of the structure.
In the case of artifacts, modification includes removal of the products of deterioration such as corrosion, repair, and the infilling of missing parts. Modification also includes restoration, which returns the object or specimen to a known earlier visual state, using compatible construction methods and materials.
Presentation encompasses activities, facilities, programs and services, including those related to interpretation and visitor activities, that bring the public into contact, either directly or indirectly, with national historic sites, national parks and historic canals. Parks Canada presents these places by promoting awareness of them, by encouraging visitation, by disseminating information about them and about opportunities to enjoy them, by interpreting them and their wider significance to visitors and non-visitors, by providing opportunities for appropriate visitor use and public involvement, and by providing essential services and facilities.
The presentation of cultural resources offers the public a wide range of opportunities to understand, appreciate and enjoy those resources.
Parks Canada will integrate its activities so that efforts at presentation will respect and enhance the historic value of the whole in order to contribute to a positive experience for the public. A knowledge of the nature and interests of the public will enable Parks Canada to enhance that experience by appropriate means of presentation.
In planning and implementing the presentation of cultural resources at national historic sites, national parks and historic canals, Parks Canada will cooperate with individuals, organizations and agencies.
New structures and buildings at national historic sites will respect and be compatible with the historic character of the site. Such new work will not be detailed in such a way as to be mistaken for a historic structure.
Signs at national historic sites and for cultural resources will respect the historic character of those resources. Such signs may be distinctive.
Parks Canada will encourage visitors to become familiar with the risks associated with access to cultural resources, and to exercise appropriate responsibility for their own safety. The qualities (historic value) that make access to a cultural resource desirable will not be diminished or destroyed in order to provide access, especially when public safety can be achieved by means other than modification.
Information about cultural resources will be accessible to all visitors. Where the location of a resource, service or facility illustrating the historic value of cultural resources prevents access by persons with disabilities, special programs or services will be offered.
Information about the richness and diversity of the family of national historic sites and how these sites express various aspects of our national identity will be made available to those who visit national historic sites administered by Parks Canada.
Interpretation seeks to reveal meanings and relationships so that the public will gain an enhanced awareness of what cultural resources signify. It includes the specialized activities by which Parks Canada communicates an understanding and appreciation of the historic value of particular places, things, events and activities to visitors and the public. This communication may be accomplished through first-hand experience of historic places, appropriate use of cultural resources and the use of media. An understanding of public needs and interests is indispensable for effective interpretation, because such understanding makes it possible to identify effective means to communicate the significance of cultural resources.
In its interpretive activities Parks Canada will communicate the historic character of the cultural resources being presented, the historical significance of the specific national historic site, national park or historic canal, the relevant links between historical activities and the natural environment and the value of cultural resource management.
Where there is a Ministerial designation of national historic significance, the primary interpretive obligation will be to communicate what has been designated as being of national historic significance.
In selecting the most appropriate means and media for interpreting cultural resources and themes related to human history, Parks Canada will be guided by Ministerial decisions regarding the purpose and form of commemoration, and will consider the following factors:
i) the commemorative intent, themes, purpose and objectives of the national historic site, national park or historic canal;
ii) the historic value of the resource;
iii) the interpretive potential of the resource and its themes;
iv) visitor needs and expectations;
v) the impact of interpretation activities on the resource;
vi) the availability of knowledge on which to proceed;
vii) opportunities for appropriate visitor use;
viii) the relationship of specific interpretive options to the overall presentation of a site; and
ix) available human and financial resources.
Outreach programs will be developed to enhance knowledge and appreciation of national historic sites (including historic canals) as well as cultural resources in national parks and to promote heritage awareness and conservation.
Interpretation is an ongoing activity. It will include the maintenance, monitoring and review of interpretation programs.
Interpretation need not be complex to be effective. The kinds and levels of interpretation may range from letting the spirit of the place speak for itself to creating a sense of the past, although these forms are not mutually exclusive. No hierarchy of resources or interpretation activities is implied by the following examples, and all may be used at a specific location.
220.127.116.11.1 Spirit of Place
Some cultural resources evoke an aura or spirit that speaks directly to visitors with minimal interpretive support material.
This interpretive approach will be considered for resources and complexes that have retained their historic uses or function or whose integrity is intact; whose meaning is readily comprehensible; whose condition will not support more intensive use and development or whose integrity would be compromised by more elaborate development.
18.104.22.168.2 Interpretive Media
Parks Canada will use a variety of personal, print, exhibit and electronic media when there is a need to offer background, detail and perspective on the history of cultural resources.
22.214.171.124.3 Creating a Sense of the Past
Creating a sense of the past for the visitor is an interactive interpretive approach that may use a combination of the following activities: accurate restoration, reconstruction or replication of cultural resources; volumetric representation(s) of cultural resources; reproduction of period costumes and objects; role playing and representations of past activities. Creating a sense of the past is a comprehensive interpretive option that requires the integration of all aspects of the scene or environment being interpreted (for example, landscape treatments should be consistent with period restorations/ reconstructions).
Parks Canada will consider creating a sense of the past as an interpretive option when:
i) there is a specific commemorative objective to provide the visitor with an understanding of a defined period in the history of a site; and
ii) The action is consistent with the principles of value, public benefit, understanding, respect and integrity of the site and its resources; and
iii) resources and their setting possess sufficient historical integrity to support a complete scene or environment; and
iv) there is sufficient understanding of the resource to ensure accuracy of detail; and
v) cost can be justified in relation to historic significance and interpretive potential; and
vi) in the case of established sites, demonstrated visitor demand or expectations warrant this type of development.
Reproductions may be manufactured and used in interpretation when:
i) sufficient knowledge exists for an accurate reproduction; and
ii) the original object is too fragile or cannot be provided with a stable display environment; or
iii) more than one of an object is required; or
iv) an object is to be handled or consumed.
The use of reproductions will be acknowledged.
In exceptional circumstances, the period reconstruction or replication of whole structures or complexes may be considered as the best possible means of achieving public understanding of a significant aspect of the past. Period reconstruction may not be undertaken unless:
i) reconstruction of the vanished resource would make a significant contribution to historical, scientific or technical knowledge; and
ii) the cost of reconstruction, including its maintenance and operation, can be justified in relation to the historic significance and interpretive potential of the work.
If these considerations are met, reconstruction may only be considered if:
a) there are no significant preservable remains that would be threatened by reconstruction; and
b) the action will not compromise the commemorative integrity of the site; and
c) there is sufficient research information to support an accurate reconstruction.
The use of period reconstructions will respect existing cultural resources and will be acknowledged.
Period reconstruction and reproductions are by definition contemporary work and have no a priori historic value. Because of their special character, however, they may be managed in accordance with this policy.
3.5.3 Special Programs and Events
Special programs and events offer important opportunities to integrate the presentation of cultural resources at national historic sites, national parks and historic canals with related activities in their surrounding communities and to develop partnerships with others.
In planning for these activities and uses Parks Canada will be sensitive to the size, nature and interests of existing and potential visitor groups, while acknowledging that not all visitor expectations are compatible with the mandate for national historic sites and national parks.
Activities that are consistent with the principles of cultural resource management, that are appropriate to the specific national park, national historic site or historic canal and that are acceptable will be encouraged.
Where warranted, special programs for targeted groups of visitors will be developed.
Special events and uses will be encouraged where they contribute directly to public appreciation of the historic themes, resources and opportunities of a national park, national historic site or historic canal.
Special events and uses will respect cultural resources and their historic character and will not impair the safety, experience and enjoyment of visitors.
Some special events and uses that are otherwise appropriate may depict the past in ways that are not specifically accurate to the site. In cases where such events or special uses are permitted, these discrepancies will be acknowledged.
Research and study by others of cultural resources at national historic sites, national parks and historic canals will be encouraged as an appropriate activity when such work respects the principles of this policy and is compatible with visitor activities.
3.5.4 Services and Facilities
126.96.36.199 Facilities and services necessary to achieve public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of cultural resources will be provided.
188.8.131.52 Services and facilities may be provided through contract, lease, licence, concession or agreement.