Public statues, memorials and plaques can convey different meanings. The current debates on public statues, memorials and plaques highlights the importance of providing historical context and acknowledging multiple perspectives. The RAHS understands that this can be challenging. However, providing context is fundamental to the practice of history, which requires a nuanced approach to interpreting multiple sources so we can understand past experiences.

As public statues, memorials or plaques embody cultural memory, the RAHS neither condones nor supports their arbitrary defacement, removal or destruction. Instead, the RAHS suggests that alternative interpretations of public statues, memorials or plaques could be displayed and/or communicated to address any expressed issues of contention or validity.

The RAHS supports the establishment of a community-based process that could: determine the heritage significance of public statues, memorials or plaques in terms of the Burra Charter; address, develop and communicate contemporary interpretations of public statues, memorials or plaques; and review and advise upon any formal applications made to civic authorities to alter, remove or destroy public statues, memorials or plaques.

The RAHS will be reviewing any public statues, memorials or plaques with which its name is associated.

Published: 16 July 2020

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