How we should interact with state Heritage bodies

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How we should interact with state Heritage bodies

Postby the_power on Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:58 pm

After the success of "how could we improve reenactment", I thought I'd start a new one... how could we better interact with state depts. like county councils and heritage boards ? Someone pointed out that groups in the UK get a little more support than Irish groups. Other than money, what would you like to say to your local county councillor, if they were down in the pub and asked you 'So, how do we do history better ?'

What sort of support would you ask them for ? What do you think living history enthusiasts have to add, over and above "a little colour to the odd small festival". Some things I had on my wishlist;

Access to more heritage sites; Ferrycarraig and Craggaunowen are only two sites that can let Living History types do their thing. The little village in Bunratty would be wonderful for early 20th century types. Parkes Castle in Sligo would be a wonderful venue for late medieval livinghistory.

Access to non-heritage sites; areas like Malahide Castle and the Pheonix Park would make *wonderful* venues. It's a great shame that there are no events near Dublin anymore (yeah, blame me for not organising one..)

Provision of permenant 'heritage areas' in green-belt areas; There are large amounts of 'green land' that's not set aside for parks currently, and is unused, or just used for walking trails. If allocated to a living history trust, it could be developed in a way that isn't against green belts; wood & thatch buildings without foundations or sewage/electricity, earth embankments as "grandstands" that could provide standing room for the public whenever shows are on.

Some things I would offer;

A list of living history groups ready to do school shows, for cash. Unlike weekend gigs, these are hard work, and there is educational funding, if a concerted effort was made on the part of the dept. of education to notify schools of this officially. It would mean effort from living history groups to invest in child-friendly props and practice speaking etc. and lets face it, that's up-front funding living history folk would have to raise themselves.

Lists of groups and abilities to county councils & town councils so they could see what is on offer for whatever festivals etc. they are planning, with recommendations on what is possible and what is useful given budget constraints. Many times, a festival organiser has offered €2000 and expected 100 people to show up in a mucky field. Mismatched expectations are never pretty.

John
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Re: How we should interact with state Heritage bodies

Postby Dave Mooney on Thu Nov 13, 2008 11:47 am

When we first met Annamarie, the little Dutch girl, we were in the Hunt Museum doing a a free promo for them. She couldn't believe we weren't annexed to the museum. She said all the groups she knew in the Netherlands was associated with either a museum or heritage centre.

As someone now associated with Craggaunowen, and other sites on the horizon, I say groups need to get out there and network. Living history display groups should all be in with a museum, collections/heritage site or heritage park/centre. Combat only groups should be in with their nearest Castle (period permitting) or battle field site. Look at a map and see what's about!
I think that groups should try associate their display to the area they are based in, where possible. Like with Craggaunown, we're the only ones that really fit in there, especially in our region. Other groups could find their niche. That way when they guest at other events they look different and can be referred to by their historical name. We could be the Dál gCais etc....sorry drifting.
I think groups should be looking for events that highlight local heritage not just entertain people. 'Circus' events have totally lost any lustre for me anyway.

For many living historians education is part of what they do. Being part of a heritage site gives you a focus and somewhere to build bigger and better things. Also opens you up to funding for projects. It builds understanding and respect for the hobby/discipline. I don't know if it's common knowledge but research and recent documents released by Clare County Council has suggested that the heritage sites need us and the schools need us and funnily enough we're flagging as the interface between both.

There is some new stuff coming down the line me thinks.
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Re: How we should interact with state Heritage bodies

Postby Bandraoi on Thu Nov 13, 2008 3:41 pm

Living history display groups should all be in with a museum, collections/heritage site or heritage park/centre. Combat only groups should be in with their nearest Castle (period permitting) or battle field site. Look at a map and see what's about!


Coming from the other side of it, I'm still not sure how to put this heritage centre to best use and hook into re enactment! Cruachan Aí, Tulsk, Roscommon - open to suggestions ;)

For any who don't know of it, check...
http://www.archaeology.ie/smrmapviewer/mapviewer.aspx

If that link doesn't work, try going through http://www.archaeology.ie and clicking on their monuments database link on the right.

Local County Council might have a heritage officer, or a conservation officer (Not all co co do) who could suggest hook ups and would certainly be worth establishing contact with.

:arrow: edited to fix crappy spelling of archaeology :roll:
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Re: How we should interact with state Heritage bodies

Postby brendan on Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:29 pm

To clarify: this is about dealing with heritage bodies.
So, the questions:
  • What can they give us? (Other than cash)
  • What can we give them (in exchange)
Answers suggested so far:
  • What they can give us:
    • Access to heritage sites
    • Access to non-heritage sites
    • Permanent Access to/use of greenbelt areas
    • An opportunity to show that we have what it takes to go on to bigger things
  • What we can give them:
    • Access to paid and trained school show guys(Isn't this there already?)
    • A directory of event organizers and cost/estimating guidelines
    • Permanent(ish) availability of a group to be connected with a particular site
    • Closer matching of events to the venue
    • Events focused on heritage/education rather than spectacle/entertainment

This is only restating what has been said so far.
The bottom line is that it needs to be a fair exchange: Something that they want for something we want.

Brendan
PS> Bandraoi, the link works, but which monument are you referring to in the (looooong) list?
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Re: How we should interact with state Heritage bodies

Postby lordedward on Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:05 pm

This is something I've had an interest in.

First, make friends with, or at least let your Local Council Heritage officer know you exist and what you do. Its the officers in the Council who do the organising and planning for events and heritage programmes, plans etc. and most importantly have control over budgets, not the councillors(who do photo-calls, but not with Black & Tans :lol: ). If the heritage officer, or equivalent, knows you're the "local re-enactor" you become a point of contact giving that council access to all the rest of us.

Second, at OPW run sites get to know the local management. Alert them to the possibilities of re-enactment and living history on their site. Make a proposal. Everything has to be refered up the line for approval so its a good idea to start small and build on it year after year. Get a good reputation at one site which opens the way into others.

Thirdly not everything is run by the state, there are lots of private museums and sites around the country. Also get to know your Local History Societies. They are often the people who organise and lobby at the local level on heritage subjects don't underestimate their power and utility, many are involved in the running of local heritage centres. I'm on the committee of the Kildare Federation of Local History Groups and this year I addressed the National Federation of Local History Societies on the subject of re-enactment. I have contact info for all the groups north and south.

These are just some of the things I've learnt, hope they help.
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Re: How we should interact with state Heritage bodies

Postby Dave Mooney on Sun Nov 16, 2008 6:13 pm

I'll be adding those recommendations to my own list.

Cheers,

Dave.
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Re: How we should interact with state Heritage bodies

Postby Bandraoi on Wed Nov 19, 2008 2:09 pm

Brendan,

Sorry, the archaeology.ie link was to the online searchable database of monuments, for people to look up their own areas and see what is there, or has been there, that can be used on a local or county level. There is everything from battle sites to castles and historic houses listed.

Also...

Bord Fáilte's annual conference, run yesterday (18th November) in Dublin Castle, was entitled "Cultural Tourism". Living History was mentioned by about half the speakers as a main area of interest for development, and referenced by most of the others. Very basically - Giving tourists, and also locals (who would bring more tourists if they have a positive attitude) interactive, enlightening experiences of history, heritage, and cluture, is the main focus nationwide, at all levels, for 2009.

There is at the very least Marketing funding available from the tourism Board to help publicise events that are being run. The speakers were fascinating, loads of good ideas... I can do a review tomorrow or friday when I write up my notes, in a seperate topic, if people are interested? They are specifically looking for events, what is being run, what can be run. There's little money for large scale projects (building LH permanent camps I'd say is out for the next couple of years) but they are actively seeking... well, us!

:)
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Re: How we should interact with state Heritage bodies

Postby Billy on Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:20 pm

I can do a review tomorrow or friday when I write up my notes, in a seperate topic, if people are interested?


Yes, yes, we're interested. Write away.
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Re: How we should interact with state Heritage bodies

Postby Bandraoi on Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:54 pm

Sorry, haven't been able to get to this yet, damn all this real work stuff :roll: I will put it up early next week.
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