The module is focused on practical approaches and tools that can be useful in the process of designing and develop ecomuseum. It refers to a sequence of stages and steps to be taken in the process of participative planning, from making a vision, carrying out diagnosis of situation, defining mission and goals, finding the solutions and determining necessary activities and tasks, developing action plan. Special attention was paid to the methodology of diagnosis and its tools. In the ecomuseum planning process it is worth including heritage interpretation principles and tools. The final part of the module enables to analyze various aspects of ecomuseum operation that have to be taken into account in the planning process to secure the ecomuseum sustainability.
The main goal of this module is to provide the necessary knowledge concerning development and sustaining of the ecomuseum including:
The main output will be the understanding of comprehensive development of an ecomuseum step by step. It will deliver models and examples based on ecomuseum Best Practices. It will deliver practical knowledge to be used in all stages of ecomuseum development.
Planning is a sequence of steps, a method of achieving goals, a recipe for team work, vision of future that is to be implemented. Due to planning one can predict and avoid difficulties, seize the opportunities, realize the goal of activities, mobilize oneself for mutual undertakings, subordinating behaviors to proprietary objectives. One of important planning effect is making sure if there exists process possible to implement that will serve achieving goals.
The ecomuseum planning process will be always carried out in particular environment that is essential to understand, so this will have to always be the first step.
The planning process is defined differently by various specialists and consists of several steps. In case of an ecomuseum, it is important to start having a general vision before planning.
The ecomuseum mission refers to the change that the entity wants to introduce in the world and its values. Formulating the ecomuseum mission is the main step to then start defining specific goals, which will the base for activities to be undertaken.
An appropriate definition of a goals is essential to their implementation. The SMART concept can help us to develop the ecomuseum goals. Its name stands for the first letters of five characteristics of well-defined goal.
All objectives should enable the achievement of ecomuseum vision. This is also a good moment to describe the general concept of ecomuseum.
Well-defined objectives should be the base for the development of action plan.
The more specific is the action plan is, it would provide better guidelines for its implementation. It will have to be structured in concordance with the objectives, which will include a list of tasks in order to achieve it. The criteria to measure the success should arise from the well-defined objective and enable to assess its achievement. It is important to indicate the deadline to accomplish each task and to set the starting point in order to also define the implementation schedule. Every task implementation will require ensuring all kinds of resources needed e.g. physical, financial, human. In the case of more partners being involved, it is useful to define each task’s leader, the person who will be the responsible for its accomplishment.
When working out the action plan it is important to define priorities and tasks must be analyzed taking into account their importance and urgency. It is important to specify which are those tasks that are the more relevant for the whole concept or to the accomplishment of other tasks. Some tasks might require significant financial outlays thus have to be postponed until the funds are raised (fundraising itself can also be a task in this case).
In order to involve local institutions, organizations, enterprises and people from local communities, the ecomuseum planning process should follow a participative approach. This planning should be based on meetings, workshops, field works – allowing an exchange of information, thoughts, ideas and generating new, often innovative approaches and means of implementation. Those conclusions taken from diagnosis should be used as a starting point.
Planning should not be limited to an initial phase of ecomuseum development as ecomuseum is a dynamic undertaking. Ecomuseum’s operation, management and effectiveness should be regularly monitored and evaluated. The evaluation conclusions and recommendations should be the base for planning process and it can refer to the whole ecomuseum (some systemic changes) or selected aspects of ecomuseum operation and management.
Diagnosis serves learning about the situation and assess possibilities of developing community and area aspects and solving problems including better understanding of its essence and causes. It allows to get to know diverse community opinions and views and gather ideas and suggestions of various people and institutions. It is a way to collect, analyze and interpret data. It is also a good opportunity to spread information about the idea of launching and developing an ecomuseum.
The ecomuseum diagnosis should include complex analysis of heritage potential, its specific characteristics, its state of preservation, elements that are endangered and resources that could be taken into account (e.g. infrastructure, its state of ownership). It is very important to see heritage widely and research into its natural and cultural aspects, tangible and intangible. It is important to design the diagnosis range and procedure in order to get key information and data to be used in making a project and developing an ecomuseum.
The diagnosis consists of several steps:
Main diagnosis tools are:
Documents analysis is the first step to understand the situation and prepare further research activities. All those documents that can be useful and deliver information important in the process of planning ecomuseum (reports, elaborations, articles, strategies, maps etc.) must be included in the analysis.
Survey research allows to collect quantitative data, get to know opinions, tendencies and attitudes towards heritage resources, their values, ideas to protect and maintain, potential. It is a good method to reach wider audience. There are various techniques to carry out the survey:
One of the most difficult parts is designing the questionnaire in a way that questions are clearly understandable and useful to collect necessary interpretable data. Gathered information tends to be schematic and does not provide a completely cohesive picture, but do show the views shared by wider group of stakeholders.
To deepen the knowledge and better understand the processes it is recommended to plan a series of interviews with a group of people who can deliver interesting points, new perspectives and throw maybe new light on the situation and possible direction in development of the ecomuseum. Interviews should be carried out according to the earlier prepared scenario, but this technique allows to introduce more questions and follow new ideas proposed by the interlocutor. Interviews are the source of qualitative data. Interviews can be led in two forms:
Observation is a method of planned, regular watching phenomena and issues directly or indirectly related to the research subject or influencing it. It is often underestimated and overlooked as method of collecting knowledge. Nevertheless, it allows taking an objective look at the situation, unencumbered with any form of assessment or subjective feeling. It is important to carry out observations systematically, as thanks to that way tendencies can be distinguished from single events. Collected information is reliable and have research value.
During the diagnosis it is worth to:
Collected data should be analyzed and interpreted in respect to the plan of ecomuseum development and the potential ideas and solutions set to achieve the goal. The results of the diagnosis are orderly conclusions and recommendations. All data in numbers and the most relevant opinions that were the base for the conclusions and recommendations should be presented in a diagnosis report. The diagnosis should enable e.g.:
Heritage interpretation is an educational activity which aims to reveal meanings and relationships through the use of original objects, by firsthand experience, and by illustrative media, rather than simply to communicate factual information – according to the definition of Freeman Tilden, who set down the principles and theories of heritage interpretation in his 1957 book Interpreting Our Heritage. His work with the United States National Park Service (NPS) inspired generations of interpreters across the world and continues to be a definitive text for the discipline.
Difference between heritage interpretation and information:
According to Freeman Tilden, “Information is not necessarily interpretation, however all heritage interpretation contains information”. Effective heritage interpretation is not about what you say to an audience, but rather the way you say or present it. Information presented to visitors is just that, straight facts; data, specifications, categories, figures and dates. Heritage interpretation is an objective driven, audience-focused process that accomplishes results. Interpretation uses marketing and advertising techniques, journalism strategies, and a host of other tools to deliver an interpretive outcome. Well executed interpretation is a fun, inspiring and motivating recreational learning experience.
The goal of interpretation is to improve and enrich the visitor experience by helping site visitors understand the significance of the place they are visiting, and connecting those meanings to visitors’ own personal lives. By weaving compelling, thematic stories about environmental phenomena and historical events, interpreters aim visitors to learn and think about their own experiences. Effective interpretation enables the visitors to make associations between the received information and their previous perceptions. Interpretation is often used by landowning government agencies and NGOs to promote environmental stewardship of the lands they manage.
In his 1957 book, “Interpreting Our Heritage”, Freeman Tilden defined the six principles of interpretation:
Interpretive communication or heritage interpretation communication is not simply a way of presenting information. Heritage interpretation is a specific communication process that is used to translate raw information, from the technical language of the expert, to the everyday language of the audience, in an inspiring and engaging in a way that leaves a lasting and profound change in the audience.
The interpretive communication process is much more than the provision of a few panels around a heritage site. Heritage interpretation communication is an all encompassing, and all embracing process that reaches deep inside people at a very personal and meaningful level and leaves a positive, long lasting impression that changes the way people understand and think about things. Heritage interpretation is a philosophy, a teaching technique, an engagement strategy and a management tool.
In trying to understand what interpretation is, it is helpful to look at a process model of interpretation. This process developed by the HDC team is known as the Veverka Interpretation Model or the Veverka Interpretive Process.
|Mission And Objectives||The ‘why? ’|
What do you want your interpretative programs or services to accomplish?
|Theme, Message And Stories||The ‘what? ’|
What is the main interpretative message you want the visitors to leave your program or activity with – and REMEMEBR?
|Visitor||The ‘who? ’|
Who is your target audience – anglers, boaters, school groups, local residents, heritage tourists, etc.
|Media And Services||After you have decided on your objectives, your theme, and once you already know your target audience, you will need to relate to, the next part of the planning process. You now need to determine the method to present the program and accomplish your objectives. This might include: live programs, visitor center exhibit, interpretive panels, self-guiding trails, or other media/services.|
|Implementation And Operations||This part of the planning process is where you determine just what it will take to make the program or service happen. What teaching aides will you need to present program? Any handout materials or props?|
|Evaluation And Feedback||Part of the interpretative process involves evaluation to see if the objectives of your program were accomplished. There are several ways you can get feedback.|
The following are 12 good reasons why heritage interpretation is a critical element in the success or failure of heritage sites
Models of ecomuseum management (management system, staff, financing communication)
Models of ecomuseum operations. What Ecomuseum deliverables in education, tourism, local development
The planning process should include various aspects of the ecomuseum operation and management and it should fit to local circumstances (e.g. heritage, human, institutional resources).
The content depends on ecomuseum goals, heritage resources, infrastructure available, audience, education program, tourism offer.
One of the most important issues is the definition of the ecomuseum goals. They will determine ecomuseum’s profile, development directions, activities, structure and management system. Goals depend on local situation and circumstances, heritage resources and their state, ecomuseum leader and partners. Bellow there is a selection of goals declared by ecomuseums.
|EXAMPLES OF ECOMUSEUM GOALS|
Each ecomuseum should define its individual goals and mission. Even if they can seem obvious for the leaders, objectives and mission should be specified and written down.
In the phase of diagnosis local heritage, resources are identified and analyzed. This is the starting point to design what resources will be the base for the ecomuseum and in what way they will be interpreted and shared. There is a wide range of tools and technologies to be used to interpret the heritage.
|POSSIBLE INTERPRETIVE TOOLS|
|POSSIBLE TECHNOLOGICAL RESOURCES|
The choice of tools and technologies will depend on the character of heritage, human resources, funds, available infrastructure, target groups….
In designing ecomuseum it is important to define the potential audience. According to heritage interpretation, the message should be formulated and provided in a way that is relevant to the selected specific segment of audience.
The program should be customized to various age groups considering level of their knowledge and skills
The program should be tailored in the way attractive to this group (e.g. challenging, including rivalry)
The program should take into account potential limitations
The program should encourage common activities, involving all family members
The program should include potential exchange and contribution
The program requires the communication in foreign language (depending on potential international audience) and additional information (historical and cultural background)
Infrastructure includes all sorts of indoor and outdoor spaces that can be used for the ecomuseum purposes. Its diagnose should show the potential and needs. The next step is to assess which resources are ready to be used, which need adaptation or creation. The needs depend on the planned activities and character of heritage resources to be interpreted and shared.
|Indoor infrastructure||The indoor space might be used for exhibitions, collections, library, workshop venue, training/seminars venue, meetings, administrations, film/presentations, theatre performance, archive, store etc. It could also include special purpose buildings (e.g. mills, smithies, castles, bakeries, factories. mines etc.) that can display maintained authentic equipped spaces.|
|Outdoor infrastructure||The outdoor space might include: gardens, parks, trails, educational paths, specific landscape, urban or rural layouts, monuments, cemeteries, archaeological sites, apiary, etc.|
The interpretation and use of the existing infrastructure should fallow the overall concept of the ecomuseum.
I.5. Human resources
Specific human resources are needed to develop the ecomuseum and its educational program. They include not only specialists in certain areas and fields, but also people with specific skills, practice, experience and talents. You can consult the ecomuseum program with internal and external professionals, but you will also need the local community to develop specific knowledge, skills and experience.
|Specialists and researchers||This group includes a wide scope of professionals e.g. museologists, archaeologists, ethnographers, historians, regionalists, specialist In tourism and education (pedagogues) but also specialists in management and marketing. You can also cooperate with professional specialist in heritage interpretation. It is also important to have the special programs to cooperate with senior since they are depositaries of a disappearing knowledge, skills and experiences.|
|Local community||You have to search for local artists, artisans, farmers, producers, as well as people that cultivate local tradition, customs, music, songs, dances, games. It is important to cooperate with people that collect local stories, legends, fairy tales – maybe there are talented story-tellers. You can include local festivals, fairs and performances as well as cooperate with historic reconstruction groups.|
The cooperation of various specialist, technicians, professionals and volunteers is necessary to deliver reliable educational values, knowledge, skills in attractive and involving way.
The ecomuseum evolution should be also focused on the development of human resources. The program should be based on systematic monitoring of needs and tailored according to them. Various methods and educational tools could be used:
|Regular trainings – organized for ecomuseum staff and volunteers as well as participation in available training (paid or free of charge)|
|Online courses – there are more possibilities to participate in the online courses and seminars organized by a wide range of specialists (e.g. e-learning)|
|Guidance materials – access to all kind of professional literature and manuals|
|Online Training (e.g. webinar, tutorials, videos) – promote and encourage participation in various online trainings|
|Expert assistance in developing new projects – finding experts that can assist in new undertaking, esp. introducing innovative methods and approaches.|
|Exchange of knowledge and experiences – organization of study visits to museums and ecomuseum, organization/participation in conferences and seminars.|
Additionally, the ecomuseum might cooperate with typical tourist services and facilities like accommodations, restaurants and caterings as well other in the area e.g. bike rentals. However, it is important that those places respect and promote local culture and traditions (e.g. use local resources, are environmentally friendly, respect local cultural landscape, offer local cuisine etc.).
Management includes various aspects of the ecomuseum organization and functioning like: institutional character, decision-making process, human resources, communication, finance, relation to the community).
The institutional character depends on local conditions and possibilities. It can represent:
It is worth mentioning that Italy is the only country that worked out a specific law related to ecomuseum.
The decision-making process depends on the adopted institutional character and structure. As ecomuseum deals with community valuable heritage, it is important to use democratic rules and apply public participation mechanisms involving wider society in the process.
Ecomuseum structure might include:
Each ecomuseum might develop other structural units to make the operation and management system more efficient and effective.
Communication is one of the main important issues in the ecomuseum management. It should be well planned and systematically implemented. It includes internal communication (within the ecomuseum staff and all involved, e.g. volunteers), and external communication both with the community and the ecomuseum’s audience.
|Printed materials: leaflets, posters, maps, books, guidebooks,|
|Official website, mailing, blogs, e-guidebooks|
|Audio and video materials|
|Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp|
|Cooperation with bloggers, influencers, instagramers|
|Meetings, seminars, conferences|
The list of methods, tools and channels is open and ecomuseums should adapt it to be relevant to the target groups and message to be delivered.
To manage financial issues, the ecomuseum should firstly define which are its permanent costs (e.g. staff, maintenance )and its occasional costs (e.g. events organization, training, issuing publications). It is essential to estimate necessary cost to plan fundraising and plan ecomuseum’s budget.
The ecomuseum financial capacity depends on its status and structure. Ecomuseums differ between one another in this aspect. While some of them have permanent financing and a regular annual budget, others’ operation is project-based and their budget can fluctuate periodically depending on their activeness and effectiveness. To have the budget based on projects means a great degree of independence for the ecomuseum but can be risky in case it is not effective in raising funds.
In general ecomuseums use diverse sources of finances:
|External resources (grants, donations and subventions from various institution, organizations and companies)|
|Own resources (e.g. membership fees, income from delivering services and products)|
|Community resources (e.g. donations, voluntary work)|
|National competitive projects (grants)|
|International competitive projects (grants)|
|Resources under cultural patronage laws (subventions)|
|The Ecomuseum is dependent on an external institution (public or private)|
In the process of planning the ecomuseum development, one important issue is building and maintaining relations with the community. More about this aspect of ecomuseum operation is presented in the module Participation and active citizenship. Participatory Processes.
Ecomuseum operates in a certain area, which can limit its knowledge about other ecomuseums models, solutions, ideas, innovative methods and tools. This knowledge and skills can be developed and raised through participation in networks. It serves well exchange of experiences and build the communities of ecomuseums on various levels (regional, national, international). To start with, the ecomuseum can launch or participate in local networks of entities (public, private, social) to encourage local cooperation. Next step is to start cooperation with other ecomuseums or similar initiatives in the region and country. If there is sufficient capacity, in time partners might decide to establish a network (it is recommended to have an entity ready to play the role of a leader/coordinator of the network). But you need to be aware that participation in network is not only profitable, but it also demand extra work and engagement and ecomuseum needs enough capacity to be part of a network.
|A network of local institutions / associations|
|Ecomuseums network at the regional level (e.g. Ecomuseum Network in Lombardy)|
|Ecomuseums network at the state level (e.g. Fédération des Écomusées et des Musées de Société, Italian Network of Ecomuseums)|
|International network (e.g. international platforms EEON, DROP)|
A good example of a network is the French network – Fédération des Écomusées et des Musées de Société (https://fems.asso.fr) which gathers 139 members representing ecomuseums, community museums and interpretation centers. Another example is Italian Network of Ecomuseums that has published The Strategic Manifesto of Italian Ecomuseums in 2017
There are also platforms dedicated to ecomuseums to foster and encourage their development, cooperation and exchange between them:
It is important to carry out systematic and detailed ecomuseum planning proces in participatory way:
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