At the Mogao Grottoes, a World Heritage site near Dunhuang city in Gansu Province, visitor numbers have increased inexorably since 1979 when the site opened. A national policy that identifies tourism as a pillar industry, along with pressure from local authorities and businesses to encourage more tourism, threatens to lead to an unsustainable situation for management, an unsafe and uncomfortable experience for visitors and irreparable damage to the fragile art of the cave temples for which the site is famous. In the context of the comprehensive visitor management plan developed for the Mogao Grottoes, a multi-year study began in 2001 as a joint undertaking of the Dunhuang Academy and the Getty Conservation Institute to determine the impact of visitation on the painted caves and develop strategies for sustainable visitation such that, once implemented, these threats would be resolved. The methodological framework featured a major research and assessment component that integrates visitor studies; laboratory investigations; environmental monitoring; field testing and condition assessment to address the issues affecting the grottoes and visitors. Results from this component led to defining limiting conditions, which were the basis for establishing a visitor capacity policy for the grottoes and developing long-term monitoring and management tools.
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Martha DemasMartha Demas is a senior project specialist at the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) in Los Angeles. She received her doctorate in Aegean Archaeology from the University of Cincinnati. After several years engaged in archaeological excavation, research and publication on Late Bronze Age sites in Cyprus, she returned to the U.S. to pursue an M.A. in Historic Preservation at Cornell University, specializing in conservation of the archaeological heritage. Demas joined the Getty Conservation Institute in 1990 where she has worked on the development of training courses and undertaken research and publication in conservation and management of archaeological sites. She has principally been involved in archaeological site conservation and management projects in Central America, Africa, the Middle East, and the United States. Since 1997 Demas has been actively involved in China in the development of the Principles for the Conservation of Heritage Sites in China and their application at the Mogao Grottoes and the Chengde Imperial Mountain Resort, as well as on research into the history of conservation in China. In 2010, she received the Friendship Award of the State Council of the PRC in recognition of her work in China.Neville Agnew Neville Agnew is a principal project specialist at the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) in Los Angeles. Prior to joining the Getty in 1988, he headed the conservation section at the Queensland Museum, Australia. Previously his career had been in academic and research chemistry. Agnew has led and participated in many of the international conservation projects of the GCI and has authored and edited numerous publications. He is a former member and chair of the U.S. National Park Service's National Center for Preservation Technology and Training and is on the editorial boards of the journals Conservation and Management of Archaeological sites and Historic Environment. Agnew organized the conservation theme at the 5th World Archaeological Congress in 2003 and co-edited the subsequent publication. His long association with cultural heritage conservation in China has resulted in a number of awards: The Friendship Award of the State Council in 2000; the International Scientific and Technology Cooperation Award of the PRC in 2005; and awards from Gansu Province and the Dunhuang Academy. His current projects include continuing work at the Mogao Grottoes of Dunhuang; revision of the Principles for the Conservation of Heritage Sites in China; conservation and management of the Valley of the Queens and Tutankhamen's tomb, Egypt; and the Southern African Rock Art Project.Fan JinshiFan Jinshi is the Director of the Dunhuang Academy in Gansu Province. After graduating in 1963 from Peking University where she studied archaeology, she joined the Research Institute of Dunhuang (later renamed the Dunhuang Academy). She was appointed Deputy Director of the Academy in 1984, Executive Deputy Director in 1993, and Director in April 1998. She is an adjunct professor at Lanzhou University in Gansu Province. Fan has dedicated herself to the archaeological study, conservation and management of the Dunhuang Grottoes for over five decades. She has strengthened international cooperation to ensure the preservation of Dunhuang heritage and is now working on a "Digital Dunhuang" project to expand accessibility to research materials and safeguarding them for future generations. Fan Jinshi has overseen numerous projects relating to the protection and use and documentation of the Dunhuang Grottoes, and a long-term, overall conservation plan for the Dunhuang Grottoes. She has published widely on the Dunhuang Grottoes and also compiled and edited The Complete Collection of Dunhuang Grottoes (26 volumes). Fan has served as a Member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference since 1993. She was named one of the "Most Outstanding Professionals of the Nation" by the Ministry of Science and Technology in 2002. In 2013 she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences honoris causa by the University of Hong Kong in 2013.
Chapter 1: Introduction.- Chapter 2: Conceptual frameworks for managing visitor impact.- Chapter 3: The Mogao Grottoes of Dunhuang.- Chapter 4: The Mogao Visitor Study.- Chapter 5: Strategies for sustainable tourism.- Conclusions.
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