What is an Ecomuseum?
Ecomuseum [ˈiːkəʊmjuːˌziːəm] noun A type of interdisciplinary museum presenting the history and heritage of a particular community or region in the context of its society, culture, and natural environment.
This is the definition of “Ecomuseum” – an idea which relates to the development of a community within its territory. This term was created by the French anthropologist Hugues de Varine, founding father of the European Network of Ecomuseums, and it was originally conceived as a way to preserve rural communities’ cultural heritage at a time when it was seriously put at risk by urbanisation and social changes.
An Ecomuseum serves the community and belongs to that community. It is a dynamic process through which communities cherish, interpret, and value their heritage to create a sustainable development model.
It takes knowledge and affection to care for someone or something. An Ecomuseum is a new idea which allows people to care for their past, take it back to the present and support future progress. Respecting and knowing the past is vital to the very essence of an Ecomuseum. Like Hugues de Varine stated, “Development is sustainable – thus real – only on condition that it lives in harmony with cultural heritage and contributes to its vitality and growth. It follows that it is impossible to have development without actual, active, and conscious participation of the community which holds its heritage”.