Heritage interpretation. Development of a new education module in Hungary


The Association of Cultural Heritage Managers (ACHEM) and KON-TIKI Interpretive consultation, training and evaluation (Lüneburg, DE) develops together an educational program in natural and cultural heritage interpretation. The different methodologies of heritage interpretation are to date little reflected and rarely used in post-socialist European countries. Informal educational tools are also not yet systematically used in the academic eduational field and in applied heritage management. A main reason for this is the lack of practice-based training possibilities and the lack of structured knowledge on these issues in national languages.

In 2014 ACHEM organizes two test courses in Hungary for heritage experts with practical and/or theoretical background. Together with partner institutions and professionals from Hungary and Germany a handbook on interpretive planning will be developed and presented until the Fall of 2015.

What does heritage interpretation mean?

Heritage interpretation is a structured approach to non-formal education that is specialised in communicating significant ideas about a place to people on leisure. It establishes a link between visitors and what they can discover at a nature reserve, a historic site or a museum.

A partner to the program is KON-TIKI Büro für Bildungs- und Erlebnisplanung (Lüneburg, Germany). The conceptual approach of KON-TIKI is based on the work of Steve Van Matre (author of the influential book ‘Interpretive Design and The Dance of Experience’) and of other Anglo-Saxonian authors who elaborated the interpretive method. Dr. Lars Wohlers, director of KON-TIKI will be one of the trainers in our program.

Aims of the program

With this program ACHEM and KON-TIKI aim to achieve two goals – firstly, to promote the interpretive approach by bringing together professionals working in natural and cultural heritage preservation, in tourism, decision makers of the local governments, libraries, archives and NGOs involved in these activities. Secondly, together with its partners ACHEM will conceive and implement an educational module on heritage interpretation that may be integrated in academic curricula.

Why is this program important?

The planned educational program links theory to practice and brings together different academic and cultural fields related to cultural and natural heritage. It has a wide range of target groups: future trainers/teachers of heritage interpretation, students from different educational institutions and levels, professionals working on heritage sites (museums, zoos, nature parks etc.). Participants of the training will have the chance to develop test projects on heritage sites. The interpretive method represents a complex managerial mindset long due in the field of heritage preservation in Central and Eastern European countries. Implementing this method will help the targeted heritage institutions improve their sustainability. The training will also improve the future working chances of the participants. In course of the program an international professional network will be created with the partner institutions, which can offer a platform for future collaborations.

More information on the first stage of the project taking place in Spring 2014 will be available on our website soon.

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