Ecomuseums, as a museum of the community, are legitimated by the participation of the community. For this reason, many ecomuseums are designed, and are working, not according to the traditional logic which consists in the Institution planning and acting “for” the community, often excluding people from the decisional and design processes. The plan and the work of these ecomuseums are carried out “with” the community, according to the logic of participatory planning and active citizenship.
Public forums and other ways of participation were created. Owners of lands and of cultural heritage, municipalities, museums, parishes, water treatment companies, associations, farmers, traders and artisans, public and private educational Institutions and single citizens, were encouraged to be informed, to discuss and interact, to shape the idea of the ecomuseum, to design multi annual action plans and to activate their resources, knowledge and skills in order to realize the planned actions.
From the point of view of ecomuseums, the participation process is at least as important as the results and the outcomes of the planned actions. In fact, the interaction of the local actors is essential in order to create both a sense of place and community and to release energy to achieve the planned goals.
Italian ecomuseums designed their own participation toolkit to plan in a participating way and explain them in their strategic Manifesto .
In 2021 inside the celebration of 50 years of ecomuseology italian ecomuseums considered these two tools:
Critical balance of the whole cultural heritage present in the territory as a householder would do with his/her own family heritage. The existence of such a budget, based on the preliminary census, will not only guide the choices regarding organization and use, but will also allow a better evaluation of possible economic strategies. The following grids may appear redundant, but they mark various stages or various levels of the same reflection. Collective work is needed here, bringing together as many local actors as possible. Hugues de Varine shows these tools in “The roots of the future”, p. 111 Italian edition (a rough translation in English is here)
Heritage Planning for Sustainable Cultural Impacts. The Inside-Outside Impact Model, by Douglas Worts is a way to link a wide array of possible public engagement strategies related to climate change action, that can have impacts both inside and outside heritage organizations.
The balance sheet
The goal of this tool, as a basis for reflection, is to draw up a critical balance of the whole cultural heritage present in the territory as a householder would do with his / her own family heritage. The existence of such a budget, based on the preliminary census, will not only guide the choices regarding organization and use, but will also allow a better evaluation of possible economic strategies. The following grids may appear redundant, but they mark various stages or various levels of the same reflection. Collective work is needed here, bringing together as many local actors as possible.
1. Value of cultural heritage
|Different types of value||Private||Community||Public|
|Symbolic, political, imaginary|
The three columns on the right can be filled in different ways:
The essential thing is to proceed in a “contradictory” way to bring out a consensus within the community on the necessarily subjective value attributed to the various elements of the cultural heritage, recognized as such.
The heritage status can be assessed by making use of lists and placing local heritage items in boxes, depending on what they represent.
|physical (conservation, possibility of restoration|
|availability (for development)|
|notoriety (Internal, external)|
|dynamics (degree of activity)|
The goal of this subdivision is to determine at the same time the interventions to be implemented, their scope, the time required and the assets immediately usable.
Cost / income ratio of cultural heritage
|Costs / negative||Revenue / positive|
|degree of political risk|
It is a question of proceeding with an estimate of the cultural heritage in its entirety, in order to establish an evaluation, obviously more qualitative than quantitative, but essential for future strategic choices. This work will also serve to measure the level of awareness that the population and the different categories of actors (administrators, owners, associations, citizens, young people, etc.) have of cultural heritage.
2. List of resources
Framework of the capital (patrimonial)
A synthetic picture of the cultural heritage of the community will be drawn up,
in order to make visible opportunities and gaps.
|Mobile||Objects and machines
It is not a question of drawing up new lists, but of determining the elements that are significant for the development of assets and which will be taken into account in medium and long-term strategies.
Cultural heritage environment
A similar framework will then have to be prepared for all the instruments and services more or less closely linked to each other and connected to the cultural heritage: derivative products, commercial structures, information centers.