Resource notes

Amplifying intangible heritage as a resource for museum narratives


  • Rob Horrocks



exhibition, intangible heritage, museum, oral history


This article presents a consideration of popular music culture as intangible culture, consistent with the premises of the UNESCO 2003 Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention. The observations presented in the account are drawn from involvement in the Home of Metal (HoM) project, a music heritage project which aims to brand Birmingham and the Black Country as the birthplace of heavy metal. The article focuses on the methods used within the collection and curation of oral histories for a temporary museum exhibition held in Birmingham. It discusses the value of these verbal accounts of a music culture for the exhibition, particularly where there was an absence of physical artefacts.


Ashton, Paul, and Hilda Kean. 2009. People and their Pasts: Public History Today. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cowen, Andrew. 2008. ‘Let’s Rock the West Midlands’. Birmingham Post. October 21.

Leonard, Marion. 2007. ‘Constructing Histories through Material Culture: Popular Music, Museums and Collecting’. Popular Music History 2/2: 147–67.

Metal, Home of. 2011a. ‘40 Years of Heavy Metal and its Unique Birthplace’. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

—2011b. ‘Narrative by Area Document’. Birmingham: Capsule.

Negus, Keith. 1996. Popular Music in Theory: An Introduction. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Smith, Laurajane, and Natsuko Akagawa. 2009. Intangible Heritage: Key Issues in Cultural Heritage. London: Routledge.

Solanilla, L. 2008. ‘The Internet as a Tool for Communicating Life Stories: A New Challenge for “Memory Institutions”’. International Journal of Intangible Heritage 3: 103–116.

Strachan, Robert, and Marion Leonard. 2010. ‘Introduction: Creativity, Representation and Place’. In The Beat Goes On: Liverpool, Popular Music and the Changing City, ed. Marion Leonard and Robert Strachan, 1–10. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

UNESCO. 2003. Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Paris: UNESCO.




How to Cite

Horrocks, R. (2017). Resource notes: Amplifying intangible heritage as a resource for museum narratives. Popular Music History, 10(2), 192–200.