Development of a new education module in heritage interpretation

KÖME – Association of Cultural Heritage Managers and KON-TIKI Interpretive consultation, training and evaluation (Lüneburg, DE) developed together an educational program in natural and cultural heritage interpretation to cover.
The program, running between 2014 and 2015 contained trainings, open study trips and the publishing of a handbook on 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 KÖME organized two test courses in Hungary for heritage experts with practical and/or theoretical background. Together with partners from Hungary and Germany a handbook on interpretive planning was developed and published.

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 was one of the trainers in our program.

Aims of the program

With this program KÖME and KON-TIKI want firstly to promote the interpretive approach by bringing together people 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 KŐME conceives an educational module on heritage interpretation that may be integrated in academic curricula.

Why is this program important?

Our 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 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 can also improve the future working chances of the participants. In course of the program an international professional network is being created with the partner institutions, which can offer a platform for future collaborations.

More information on the first stage of the project (Spring 2014) is available in Hungarian here.

We organised study trips to heritage sites in Hungary where participants could get hands-on experience on why and how interpretation can be applied. Read the program in Hungarian here.

Participating KÖME members /ex-members:

Zsuzsa Berecz
Árpád Bőczén
Antoniya Karakostova
Piroska Varga