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Heritage learning in Bonn

Frances MacArthur, regional coordinator for Doors Open Days for East Dunbartonshire, was really lucky to take up the opportunity to visit Bonn for a weekend in November, to take part in a Heritage and Education workshop session.  It was coordinated by European Heritage Days network, and attended by European Heritage Days coordinators and representatives from many countries across Europe.  DOD is proud to be part of this European network. We are really passionate about keeping the connections alive with other organisations and countries, sharing the learning and approaches, and seeing where our partnerships can take us, by informing our developments and activities that we can offer.

Here is Frances's report on her weekend in Bonn:

Having been given the opportunity to visit Bonn and take part in a Council of Europe sponsored conference, I grabbed it with both hands. And I’m so glad I did! There wasn’t much time to explore this cosmopolitan 2000 year old city on the banks of the Rhine, but what I did see confirmed that it was the ideal location for a workshop on Heritage and Education.

Twenty delegates from across Europe gathered at Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz. This is the headquarters of the German Foundation for Monument Protection. As a private foundation, it works to preserve cultural heritage and in particular to promote involvement in cultural heritage in young people. We discovered that our base was itself of historic significance, both for its architecture, and also for its role in German history, as it was previously an embassy.

The presentations were varied and stimulating, and it was particularly interesting to find out how educating young people about cultural heritage is tackled across Europe. In some countries it is an element of the curriculum, but there appears to be little in the way of formal support. In other countries it is not on the curriculum, but there is funding to deliver programmes of heritage education.

On the second day delegates went on a conducted walking tour, to see a building constructed in the 1950s, and to hear what work has been done to maintain and restore it, whilst teaching pupils to be aware of the heritage around them. I think we were all impressed not just with the programme, but also with the commitment of those involved. For me it demonstrated yet again that with heritage, while the focus is often on buildings, it is the passion they engender that counts the most.

Frances MacArthur, Cultural Development Manager, East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Trust