Carp Valley Ecomuseum


Carp Valley Ecomuseum

Case Study Contents

1. Ecomuseum Data

Ecomuseum Name

Carp Valley Ecomuseum

Date of Creation



Rynek 2, PL-32-640 Zator (office)


+48 33 841 05 84

1.1. Description of the Ecomuseum

‘Carp Valley’ ecomuseum is a network of sites presenting ‘living’ natural and cultural heritage of the Carp Valley area. This region is famous for its traditional carp breeding. ‘Carp Valley’ ecomuseum offers a variety of interesting places where one can enjoy picturesque landscapes, experience unique nature, learn about fishery and farming and taste local cuisine, particularly dishes based on exceptional, locally bred fish. Ecomuseum enables contacts with passionates, who tell about their activities, present extraordinary products as well as teach how to make them. ‘Carp Valley’ ecomuseum delivers broad educational offer in the field of culture (art and artisan workshops, local cuisine lessons), nature (kayaking, bird-watching trips, visit in fishery farms, bee-keeping workshops) and history (visiting local mini-museums, art galleries). It promotes local traditional and environmentally friendly products and is involved in regional education in schools. This ecomuseum is based on cooperation of various stakeholders: NGOs, public institutions, entrepreneurs, private people and is run by Association of Carp Valley which operates as Local Action Group.

1.2. Members of the Ecomuseum

Name of the person in charge

Anna Świątek

Number of ecomuseum team members

40 Carp Valley Ecomuseum is constituted as a partnership counting with 40 members. Among members there are NGOs, entrepreneurs/companies, institutions and individuals. People active in the Ecomuseum are either employees or volunteers in the above mentioned entities. This Ecomuseum has no legal status so it cannot have its own employees or volunteers.

Qualification/training of team members

  • Chemistry,
  • Local development,
  • Local heritage promotion and management,
  • Project management,
  • Tourism,
  • Partnership cooperation,
  • Marketing,
  • Social media

Besides Ecomuseum team members have qualifications in fine arts, animal husbandry (zootechnics), education.


Creating ‘Carp Valley’ ecomuseum was based on a process initiated with a series of trainings. Their purpose was to start the familiarization of local stakeholders with the concept and methodology. They included examples of successfully operating ecomuseums contributing to the protection and maintenance of local heritage. Also, trainings included modules orientated to ecomuseums design and implementation plan, regarding identification of local natural and cultural heritage resources and assets, potential partners (members) identification, ecomuseum concept understanding and operation means (management, communication, visualization, target groups, internal and external cooperation). This ecomuseum is not the result of an individual leader willingness but was designed during interpersonal workshops in a collaborative process, so it is resultant of a variety of ideas and approaches. It was through participative approach that the original idea was transferred to the means of ecomuseum management. Study visits were a good source of inspiration and played an important role for a better understanding on what an ecomuseum is and how it can deal with local heritage. However, ecomuseum members still need trainings and expert consultancy in several areas. Regarding the training needs as monitored in the regular members meetings, main needs are in: educational methods development and improvement, heritage knowledge and skills dissemination, target groups reaching and new technologies use.

Some Examples of Training offered by the Ecomuseum

Development of ecomuseumThe training included an introduction to ecomuseology, examples and good practices, identification of local heritage resources and potential of the region, ecomuseum designing and planning (management and visualization system).XX
Development of ecomuseumThis training focused on identification of Ecomuseum partners, participation mechanisms, working out Ecomuseum concept and operation assumptions and Ecomuseum development programmes.XX
Exchange of experiences and good practicesStudy visit to Ekomuzeum “Wrzosowa Kraina” was useful to learn and exchange good practices in operation, management and communication in ecomuseum.XX
Management and communication in ecomuseumThis training focused on local tourism organizations management methods and internal and external promotion of ecomuseums using Local Tourism Organizations (organizations of a special status).X
Exchange of experiences and good practicesStudy visit to Ekomuzeum “Gościniec 4 Żywiołów” was an opportunity to exchange good practices in operation, management and communication in ecomuseum and to get inspiration.XX
Exchange of experiences and good practicesStudy visit to ecomuseum-like venture of LAG Zeitkultur Oeststeirisches Kernland in Austria. Useful for good practices in operation exchange, management and communication in ecomuseum as well as new solutions and approaches learning.XX
Ecomuseum promotionWorkshop focused on working out ecomuseum tourism packages.XX
Ecomuseum developmentSubsidizing of ecomuseum offers and sites basing on EU funds.XX
Ecomuseum developmentTraining concerning running agritourist farm and developing offer based on local resources.XX
Creative industryDevelopment of new tourism and educational offer, communication and cooperation using creative industry methods.XX

Some Examples of Training Needs Identified

Development of education and tourism offersIndividual support to improve methods to deliver knowledge and skills based on local heritageExpert advisory for individual sites (on-site)XX
Service delivered to profiled target groupsTrainings to develop knowledge and skills to deliver better and better tailored services to profiled target groups like e.g. seniors, children, youthAllXX
Study visit to Ekomuzeum “Dziedziny Dunajca”Study visit to Ekomuzeum “Dziedziny Dunajca” to exchange good practices in operation, management and communication in ecomuseum and to get inspiration.AllXX
Social mediaTraining to improve skills in using social media (FB, Instagram) and communication.AllXX
New technologiesTraining to deliver information concerning new technologies useful in presenting and promoting heritage.AllXX

2. Gallery

3. Funding and Resources

Type of entity
Various entities partnership (public institutions, NGOs, entrepreneurs, individuals..). The Ecomuseum is coordinated by Carp Valley Association that operates as Local Action Group.
There is no one owner. The coordinating body is an NGO, owners of particular sites are mixed.
Official status
It has no special legal status. It operates as partnership based of signed membership declarations and by-laws. Private mini-museums are Ecomuseum members and partners.
Annual budget
No fixed annual budget, project based, depends on the situation.

As this ecomuseum is a partnership of various entities and people, it has no common annual budget. Ecomuseum income can be considered in two forms: 1) income of coordinating organization, 2) income of individual ecomuseum sites.

  1. Income of Carp Valley Association is based on projects. The Association is active in the field of fundraising both on state and international level. Gained funds are invested in the development of the ecomuseum, particularly in enhancing its cooperation and impact (internal and external communication, management, common events). Activities include festivals organization, study visits, trainings, conferences, meetings gathering ecomuseum members, cooperation with other ecomuseums and external institutions, organizations and companies, preparation of promotional and educational materials (maps, leaflets, tourist passports, administration of website and mobile application), marketing (a sales platform for delivering art, artisan and cuisine workshops and educational trips). Besides Carp Valley Association is a grantmaking organization and ecomuseum members can contribute to heritage protection and dissemination and improve their tourism-education offer benefiting from grants. Funds delivered by the Association are used to develop the effective and efficient system of cooperation and guarantee the quality of heritage protection and based on local resources tourism-education offer and its reaching the target groups (market).
  2. Income of individual sites is based mostly on delivering a tourism-educational offer in the form of art, artisan, cuisine workshops, educational trips, visiting mini-museums and galleries, selling local products. The offer is accompanied with accommodation in unique places (agritourist farms or pensions) and local cuisine degustation, from where the exceptional royal Zator carp is a remarkable dish.

Members of the ecomuseum are considering introducing some additional small amount as a membership fee to ensure funds for basic ecomuseum needs.

4. Social and Community Participation

Carp Valley ecomuseum operates as a cross-sector partnership that is always open to welcoming new partners. All partners signed membership declaration and they follow mutually approved by-laws based on democratic rules. It is coordinated by Carp Valley Association, however, strategic decisions are made by all the members together, mostly during regular meetings. It is an independent entity, but it keeps contact with local authorities. Ecomuseum organizes several events for local communities. It is deeply involved in education concerning regional heritage values and knowledge about history, tradition, culture and economy of the region for children and youth. It cooperates with local NGOs and generates knowledge in dialogue with various social groups. Ecomuseum invites tourists to participate in local and regional culture, promotes nature, history and tradition organizing different types of workshops (e.g. making traditional candies, preparing traditional meals, ceramic), guided mini-museums and galleries visits, nature educational trips, practical lessons and lectures (carp breeding, bee-keeping, life of bees) and presentation of fishery farms among other activities. For those interested in deepening their knowledge about this ecomuseum and its methods to protect and present local heritage, the ecomuseum organizes different study visits. Carp Valley ecomuseum cooperates with tourist agencies and ventures (e.g. amusement parks) operating in the area in order to reach the audience and offer the possibiliy to better discover the region, its history, traditions and culture in a ‘living’ way.

4.1. Local Population

Number of inhabitants of the territory/locality where the ecomuseum is located
55 000
Number of members of the local population involved in the ecomuseum
Inhabitants of seven municipalities

Ways of participation

Carp Valley ecomuseum operates in seven municipalities and consists of 40 sites run by representatives of local communities (individuals, entrepreneurs, NGOs and public institutions). Together they make a partnership coordinated by one organization (Carp Valley Association). The partnership is based on democratic rules (according to by-laws) – and all strategic decisions are made during the ecomuseum members meetings (planning, accepting new members, communication, promotion, cooperation). Most of projects implemented are initiated by the coordinator who usually is also responsible for project management. It is always open for new members, but they have to meet approved criteria. It is in constant contact with local authorities, who are informed of all activities and news about the ecomuseum e.g. on new infrastructure to develop. It is involved in education concerning regional heritage values and knowledge concerning history, tradition, culture and economy of the region for children and youth – organizes practical lessons, workshops, educational trips and competitions. Events organized by the Carp Valley Association in cooperation with Ecomuseum members are attended by local inhabitants. Members are active in their villages and municipalities and do great job in disseminating knowledge concerning local values. They acquire new knowledge concerning the region by means of dialogue with various groups: elderly people, institutions, specialists in various fields, local passionates, artists and artisans not always associated with the entity. Besides, from the ecomuseum people are always invited to exciting activities as quests (treasure hunt games to discover local heritage) with participation of local stakeholders.

4.2. Social milieu

Number of visitors from the territory/locality where the ecomuseum is located
children from 35 local schools (ca 750) per year, local leaders, members of local community (500)
Number of foreign visitors

Forms of involvement

There are various possibilities to visit the ‘Carp Valley’ Ecomuseum. The main offer is to visit it as a participative character – Ecomuseum sites are mostly run by passionate people that deliver exciting and funny activities. Those people are open for contact, delivering information, sharing knowledge and skills. The most popular activities are workshops (e.g. making traditional candies, preparing traditional meals, ceramic), guided visiting mini-museums and galleries, nature educational trips, practical lessons and lectures (carp breeding, bee-keeping, life of bees), presentation of fishery farms. As ecomuseums are still not too popular as a form of local heritage protection and presentation ‘Carp Valley” Ecomuseum organizes study visits for those interested in launching and developing an ecomuseum in their regions. Ecomuseum delivers full information of its development step by step, giving examples about what went right and what went wrong, about successes and failures. Iecomuseum cooperates with tourist agencies and ventures (e.g. amusement parks) operating in the area in order to reach a wider audience and offer the possibility to better learning the region, its history, tradition culture in a ‘living’ way.

4.3. Website analisis

Type of intervention made possible by the website

Only information Chance to suggest actions Complaints or Compliments Purchase of tickets Open access or under registration
Information are the base
Tourism packages
Suggested events

Kinds of suggestions available

Proposing museum objectives On funding issues About museum planning On accessibility
(Event calendar)

Quality of Feedback

Receipt message is sent The proposal is discussed at the museum management level Results of the discussion are sent

‘Carp Valley’ Ecomuseum website was created in 2014. It is a typical information webpage, available only in Polish. You can learn what an ecomuseum is and discover ‘Carp Valley’ Ecomuseum, it history and how it works. The best part of the webpage is description of all the different sites that can be visited in ecomuseum. Each site has its piece of information, presentation of its offer and some considerations to have in mind when planning to visit it (e.g. in case you have to make an appointment in advance). Sites are divided into categories that include characteristics of the site and the offered activities (e.g. workshops, local cuisine, lessons in nature). Each category is illustrated by an icon. Multifunctional sites have more than one icon. The webpage makes it possible to connect with mobile application which serves easier moving around in the ecomuseum. The webpage does not allow bilateral communication with the audience. Its only interactive tool is a planner that enables designing a visit in ecomuseum. The webpage is not linked to social media but it is linked to Carp Valley main webpage. There is no visitors counter visible. The weakness of the site is a map that does not work properly and lack of proposals for staying in ecomuseum such as tourist packages ot educational products. The professional photographs are the strengths of the webpage.

5. Innovation and Research

Innovation in ecomuseums is a brand new approach, method and mode of operation that has not been used in the community before. It brings new solutions, changes in a several areas and in an overall it means an added value to the traditional routine.

However, Carp Valley itself can be considered an innovation not only because it is the first ecomuseum in the region, but also because due to its kind of partnership constitution, gathering both people and institutions that are together involved in the protection and maintenance of heritage. It is first collaborative activity of this scale in the region. Creating this ecomuseum was step by step based on continuous discussions and dialogue processes concerning the heritage resources, history, legends and traditions, including fishery and carp breeding, and exceptional values of the region that should be protected and maintained. For the communities, where only public institutions have been responsible for natural and cultural heritage protection, it is a great change to involve individuals, organizations and business to be co-responsible and to contribute to heritage safeguarding. It is enhanced by democratic rules that are the base of Carp Valley ecomuseum management.

Ecomuseum fosters social economy by allowing NGOs to sell their workshop and local product offer to visitors and thus earn money to keep their activities.

Formal education hardly fulfill their purpose on local culture, heritage and history teaching. Carp Valley ecomuseum can help filling this gap through their own original educational program for delivering knowledge and the workshops organized in the ecomuseum sites that makes it easier to deepen the knowledge and learn traditional skills.

‘Carp Valley’ Ecomuseum promotes and implements quests (treasure hunt games that enables self-discovery of the place where heritage manifestations are found). They are prepared in a participative way – various representatives of the community are involved to decide on the narration and they collectively work them out. Each time the workshop is initiated with the discussion concerning values of local heritage, which is a very important part. Quests are available in the form of a printed leaflet or pdf version on a website (e.g. Quests are an easy and effective way to foster the dialogue concerning natural and cultural heritage (tangible and intangible) and its value in local community.
Ecomuseum sites can be supported by the regional branding system and benefit from common promotion under umbrella brand (Carp Valley). The brand guarantees good quality, tights to the region’s specific culture, using local resources (e.g. raw materials) and being environmental friendly. Local brand focuses on local products, services and initiatives, rooted in the heritage, brings prestige and shows the reasons to be proud. It brings a change in perception of local values and give incentives to protect them.

Ecomuseum does not carry out any research, both in coordinating organization and among partners there are no scholars and it hardly cooperates with research institutions. The exception is a short term cooperation with Pedagogical University of Cracow, where students analyzed Ecomuseum offer and ways it reaches the audience.

6. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Number of SDGs that the ecomuseum is working on
Preferential SDGs
4, 12, 14, 15, 17

SDG-related projects/actions

Regular activitiesEducational materials are regularly prepared and distributed to improve knowledge and understanding of local history, culture, traditional occupations, nature. A program of lessons concerning local natural and cultural heritage has been prepared and is delivered in cooperation with 35 schools from the region.4 Quality educationChildren from the region constantly improve their knowledge about natural and cultural heritage and feel proud about the place they live. They know history better and get possibility to get exceptional skills.
Regular activitiesEcomuseum promotes local products – manufactured according to traditional technologies, using local raw material in the environmental-friendly way. It provides opportunity to learn about technology and production process. Ecomuseum enables learning about sustainable fishery farming and traditional species of carp, that the origin dates back to 13th century.12 Responsible consumption and productionBoth internal and external ecomuseum visitors intentionally buy local products (art, artisan, food, esp. carp) and learns about the technology and production process.
Regular activitiesEcomuseum organizes nature trips (e.g. bird-watching, quests) that enables learning about local flora and fauna and sensitizing to the need of habitat and endangered species protection. Ponds are perfect places to learning about local water life and sustainable, traditional fishery farming.14 Life below water, 15 Life on landBoth internal and external Ecomuseum visitors learn bout local flora and fauna and are more aware of the needs of their protection. Better knowledge of flora and fauna specificity fosters feeling proud of the region.
Regular activitiesEcomuseum operates based on partnership principles. It empowers local cooperation and social bonds. People know better local resources and heritage sites and build collective responsibility for protection of local and regional values.17 Partnerships for the goalsBetter cooperation of various institutions and social groups, more common undertakings to protect, maintain and present local heritage.

When Carp Valley ecomuseum was created Sustainable Development Goals were not being analyzed and taken into account. The most important for local communities and people involved at that moment was to set heritage-oriented goals in terms of heritage protection, sustainable use and development of heritage cognitive tourism. However, principles and values that this ecomuseum follows are indeed convergent with various SDGs. The most appropriate SDGs corresponding to ‘Carp Valley’ Ecomuseum are: 4 Quality education, 12 Responsible consumption and production, 14 Life below water, 15 Life on land, 17 Partnerships for the goals. This ecomuseum include these goals in its routine activities instead of implementing specific projects. It invests in quality education concerning knowledge of local and regional natural and cultural heritage in its tangible and intangible aspects, contributing thus to formal education system. It promotes sustainable methods of manufacturing goods basing on traditional technologies, let discover production process and supports products made in environment friendly way from local raw materials, presenting local skills and traditions as well as creative modification of tradition to nowadays needs (design, function). It promotes knowledge of local flora and fauna through educational trips and raises awareness of their value and needs to protect and maintain. From the initial point Ecomuseum shapes cooperation basing on partnership principles and democratic mechanisms thus all participants can have a real influence on its operation. Additionally, Ecomuseum foster active life, through creation cycle and Nordic Walking trails to move between ecomuseum sites (3 Good health and well-being).

7. COVID-19

Ecomuseum sites offer direct contact between visitors and people running particular sites – this is the key approach – learning by experience and getting new knowledge and skills directly from local artists, artisans, nature guides, cooks, passionates by means of workshops, trips, guided visits, lessons, lectures. Thus, COVID-19 had to influence delivery of ecomuseum offer and its operation. Restrictions imposed by state in some cases made it impossible to function (restorations were closed or could operate on a smaller scale – for lower number of guests; schools for long period operated on-line, educational trips were suspended). In the most restrictive time (biggest worsening of infections) tourism was allowed in a very limited range, it particularly affected tourism for organized group. Some sites were available for individual visitor (mini-museums, bee-gardens, open air events. Some of sites operates on-line. Local products have been delivered out by mail orders. Carp Vlley comuseum has not worked out specific response to COVID-19. It tried to operate on a routine base in the periods of lower/none restrictions (late spring/summer/early autumn) and operate in a limited range in remaining periods.


Barbara Kazior

Scientific Coordinators

Leandro França, Barbara Kazior, Óscar Navajas, Manuel Parodi-Álvarez, Lisa Pigozzi, Raul dal Santo, Julio Seoane, Maristela Simão