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Underneath the Arches


The US-based Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) has announced a collaborative agreement with Historic England and the City of Lincoln Council  to implement the Arches software platform, which will categorise, map, and describe the rich cultural heritage of Greater London and the City of Lincoln.

It will showcase the diversity of each city’s long history, from prehistoric landscapes to 21st century cityscapes, from Roman coins to great cathedrals, from the Norman Conquest to the Great Fire of London, and will reveal the complex relationships of the people and events that shaped the historic environment. The partnership provides a new way for the three organisations to work together to promote the understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of these cities and their histories.

‘Our colleagues at Historic England have been enthusiastic collaborators, and over the years have provided invaluable advice and support in developing the Arches platform,’ said Tim Whalen, director of the Getty Conservation Institute. ‘The quality and volume of historical data maintained by Historic England and the City of Lincoln offers an opportunity for us to demonstrate the significant advantages of Arches to the international conservation community, and the benefits it offers those who are in need of a modern cultural heritage management system.’

Arches is an open-source, web- and geospatially-based information platform built to categorise and ultimately protect cultural heritage places, including buildings, archaeology, and historic landscapes. It combines international standards for cultural heritage practice with advanced information technology. Arches is also highly customizable, and can be configured to offer direct use by policymakers, property owners, developers, visitors, students, history enthusiasts, and other stakeholders.

Through the agreements, the GCI will make enhancements to the Arches platform based on the common needs of local heritage authorities in England. These two projects will serve as a means to create an open-source software platform that will be freely available and can be readily applied by other cultural heritage organisations across England to configure and use as they see fit.

Implementation of the two projects in England will take place after the completion of Arches Version 4.0 and are expected to be launched in Lincoln in 2017 and in London in 2018.

The Arches platform was jointly initiated by the Getty Conservation Institute and World Monuments Fund in 2013. For further information on the Arches platform please visit www.archesproject.org

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