Session organisers / Chairpersons:
Dr Nigel Mills, Heritage Consultant (E-mail: nigelmillsheritage
Dr Christof Fluegel (Archaeology Museums, Bavarian Department for Museums)
The ‘Presenting the Roman Frontiers’ sessions reflect the growing interest in expanding the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site and in using the opportunities offered by the Congress to discuss and to share best practice in the four key areas of Management, Protection, Public Presentation and Sustainable Development. With the extension of the UNESCO World Heritage Site to include all the frontier countries along the Rhine and the Danube planned for 2020, this Congress in Serbia provides an opportunity to focus on some particular themes.
The UNESCO declaration (http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002338/233892e.pdf) on the protection and promotion of museums and their collections provides an important underpinning for matters relating to interpretation and the visitor experience. In particular, UNESCO recommends “supporting the increased role of museums in heritage preservation, social, educational and economic development and enjoyment, as well as in sustainable development and intercultural dialogue”.
Visitor research helps us assess how we present Roman frontier sites to the public, looking for ways to engage new and different audiences, with the ultimate goal of helping us to manage and protect World Heritage and enabling it to contribute to sustainable development. A particular issue is that often World Heritage Status is seen as having a negative impact, as a constraint on development. Understanding our audiences may help us to address this issue, and help more people see World Heritage Status as a positive. An alternative viewpoint might be that we need only cater for interested visitors, focusing on the presentation of academic information rather than reaching out to engage with wider audiences.
We would welcome contributions which focus on recent research into existing and potential visitors to Roman Frontier sites and museums. We hope this focus may act as a stimulus for sites and museums to undertake research over the next 12 months and to use this as a basis for discussion at the congress in Serbia. We suggest that qualitative research, exploring visitors’ views, insights, perceptions and experiences is of particular interest and importance.
Particular questions we would like to address include:
- What do visitors and potential visitors think about the Romans?
- What do visitors think about existing sites and museums, and the way they are presented to the public?
- How are sites and museums along the Roman Frontiers using audience research to influence the way they present information?
- What are the sorts of stories and interpretation techniques that most appeal to visitors?
- Are modern technologies such as smartphone apps and multi-media application helpful and do they generate new and perhaps younger visitors?
- How do visitors perceive the value of 1:1 ‘reconstructions’ and how can these be accommodated in the context of international charters such as the Valetta convention?
- What are the barriers to visiting? What would encourage potential visitors to visit?
- Does the interpretation, and the stories we tell, impact on visitors and provide lasting memories?
- Is Roman heritage valued? If so, how and why? If not, then why not?
Areas for general discussion and debate could include whether it might be helpful to reach agreement on some aspects of joint standards and/or best practice (e.g. agreeing some overall approaches and principles such as adopting the presentation principles of Interpret Europe – http://www.interpret-europe.net – agreeing language options).
Partnership working (for exhibitions, tourism, interpretation, marketing etc)
The second theme is that of partnership working. This is of especial importance for the ongoing management of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site. Management of the different sections of the WHS within the many different countries necessarily involves complex partnerships and the need for different professional and non-professional groups to work together in ways they have not previously experienced. World Heritage Site management brings together archaeologists, academics, planners, tourism officers, education specialists, politicians, local businesses and many other stakeholders.We invite contributions that explore and share examples and experiences of good practice in partnership working to protect, manage and present our Roman Frontier heritage, to promote protection, understanding and engagement and sustainable development.
Examples could include:
- Professionals in similar disciplines working together (e.g. academics, professionals)
- Professionals in different disciplines working together (e.g. archaeologists and tourism specialists)
- Professionals working with non-professionals (communities, amateur archaeologists, local people)
Key questions that might be addressed include:
- How does the partnership work?
- What are the objectives
- What are the benefits?
- What are the outcomes?
- What are the difficulties?
Confirmed participants for this session:
- Nigel Mills / Christof Flügel: Introduction to the session
- Richard Hingley / Kate Sharpe: Roman Frontiers in the UK: assessing what visitors value about the Roman past
- Snezana Golubovic: Viminacium: public presentation and visitor research
- Jenny Morscheiser: Welterbe als Chance – oder wieso die Römer auch in Krefeld waren
- Erik Grafstaal: Castellum Hoge Woerd: concept, business case, design, audiences and visitor groups
- Nigel Mills: Frontiers past and present: visitor reactions to the Living Wall exhibit in the Roman Frontier Gallery, Tullie House Museum
- Rahel Clormann/Christof Flügel: The Mittelfranken-Limes-App: audience research and testing
- Patricia Weeks, Lyn Wilson, Al Rawlinson, Carsten Hermann, Erik Dobat: The Antonine Wall: digital resource development for new audiences
- Boris Alexander Burandt: Between archaeology and cliché – a study on Roman military reconstructions and reenactment
- Mike Bishop: Turma! Hadrian’s Cavalry Charge in Carlisle
- Balázs Komoróczy, Pavla Růžičková, Marek Vlach: The Romans deep in barbaricum. Conception, current state and perspectives of the Roman military monuments presentation in the Czech Republic
- Andrea Chiricescu: Working with the local community on the Roman Limes. First steps in developing a sustainable site management framework
- Thomas Becker: Limes-App Hessen „Explore“ – moderner Weg der Denkmalvermittlung / Limes-App Hesse „Explore“ – a modern way of heritage transfer
- Dániel Kővágó: Visitors in bowler hats and baseball caps – Aquincum then and now
- Tom Hazenberg: Cement for the Limes. Interpretation Framework and Curatorship for the Dutch limes
- Rob Collins: Community archaeology on Hadrian’s Wall
- Bill Griffiths: The Hadrian’s Cavalry exhibition along Hadrian’s Wall: 10 museums and five organisations across 150 miles of WHS
- Anne Chen: The Southeast Europe Digital Documentation [SEEDD] project – partnership working in practice