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The Story of Mann – an expression of local, national and international value for heritage identity (Stephen Harrison)



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As a small nation, the Isle of Man, in the middle of the Irish Sea between England and Ireland, has given priority in recent year to a re-valuation of its cultural and natural heritage as a platform for its community pride and international reputation. This project provides a perfect microcosm for study of this phenomenon in modern Europe, across the full range of cultural and natural heritage assets.
This has led to a strategy to link all its heritage sites throughout the island in a co-ordinated way providing added value to a heritage strategy. My organization, Manx National Heritage has undertaken a series of major heritage projects in recent years, emphasising the interaction between monuments, museums, historic landscape and the local and tourist communities. This has involved projects in castles conservation, exhibitions interpretation and display; development of large new museums and interpretation centres; development of a new strategy for linking monuments in the countryside context for the public.

We have won a number of prestigious international awards for this multi-site, interdisciplinary approach to heritage management, - 12 awards in the last 15 years - including the British Museum of the Year Award twice and a special award in the European Museum of the Year competition. A model for multi-site, interdisciplinary heritage management for defined territories of Europe has been created. This model in the Isle of Man has attracted international attention from many other European countries and has been recommended as “a model” by the Council of Europe’s “European Landscape Convention” committee. This model has been a vital factor in a new “national branding” strategy for economic and community benefit, linked to the promotion of a positive national identity.

My paper will review how a co-ordinated strategy for heritage promotion and management can result in a “revaluation” by the community of how it values its heritage assets. It will examine how this “new value” be expressed in both local community results, and added value at the international level.
The paper will conclude that a co-ordinated community revaluation of its heritage is of great value both locally and internationally in establishing the basis of added community stability and economic stimulus, while preserving the integrity of national or local identity as a positive aspect of “added value” for the future.

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The Story of Mann – an expression of local, national and international value for heritage identity (Stephen Harrison)

  1. 1. Stephen Harrison Director <ul><li>The National Heritage Service for the Isle of Man </li></ul>
  2. 2. The Value of Heritage Identity -Local, National, International Isle of Man Case Study
  3. 3. Islands: we live in the romantic imagination of the public
  4. 4. Threatened and Saved by Transport Links
  5. 5. The Blessing and the Curse of Island Tourism <ul><li>European Islands receive more than 40million tourists a year </li></ul><ul><li>The economies of 70% of islands depend upon tourism </li></ul><ul><li>Tourism simultaneously supports and destroys culture and heritage </li></ul>
  6. 6. Private Communities, on Display to the World
  7. 7. How do we express our heritage value & identity to ourselves, & to the rest of the World?
  8. 8. Isle of Man Case Study <ul><li>A laboratory for Heritage Value: </li></ul><ul><li>Museum’s Impact on Heritage Identity? </li></ul><ul><li>Local Social & Economic Benefits? </li></ul><ul><li>International Dimension? </li></ul>
  9. 9. 1990s - IOM Cultural Assessment <ul><li>traditional sea-side resort </li></ul><ul><li>declining market </li></ul><ul><li>threatened infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>changing perception </li></ul>
  10. 10. A Crisis of Cultural Identity <ul><li>population change </li></ul><ul><li>new residents </li></ul><ul><li>social instability </li></ul><ul><li>economic change </li></ul><ul><li>new family needs </li></ul><ul><li>sense of place </li></ul><ul><li>cultural identity </li></ul>
  11. 11. Internal & external perceptions in times of change?
  12. 12. IOM Community Consultation <ul><li>opinions on change? </li></ul><ul><li>quality of life? </li></ul><ul><li>strength of feeling for heritage and culture? </li></ul><ul><li>sense of “ownership and access”? </li></ul><ul><li>sense of national identity? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Cultural Assets - Perception pre-1990 <ul><li>Museums (archaeology) emphasis </li></ul><ul><li>Only for the few </li></ul><ul><li>No links to the countryside </li></ul><ul><li>National monuments not part of the interpretive plan </li></ul><ul><li>Not of great Governmental, social or economic significance </li></ul>
  14. 14. Asset Audit
  15. 15. Asset Audit
  16. 16. The Public Debate
  17. 17. The Heritage Process? - a choice by the community? <ul><li>What to value from the past? </li></ul><ul><li>What to value in the present? </li></ul><ul><li>What to pass on to future generations? </li></ul><ul><li>What values govern these choices? </li></ul>
  18. 18. IOM Community Perception <ul><li>Valued the sense of an historic landscape </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted the specific Isle of Man story </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted better Intellectual & physical access </li></ul>
  19. 19. 580 km2 of Historic Countryside
  20. 20. A Co-ordinated Strategy <ul><li>multi-site </li></ul><ul><li>inter-disciplinary </li></ul><ul><li>community partners </li></ul><ul><li>social and economic </li></ul><ul><li>the 570sq Km museum </li></ul>
  21. 21. The “Story of Mann”
  22. 22. The Need For Partners
  23. 23. Involving the Community
  24. 24. Product Examples: Manx Museum
  25. 25. Product Examples <ul><li>Manx Museum </li></ul><ul><li>‘ threshold interpretation’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ come in, go out, discover!’ </li></ul><ul><li>new community uses </li></ul><ul><li>Island museum overview </li></ul>
  26. 26. Product Examples: Castle Restoration
  27. 27. Product Examples: Cregneash
  28. 28. The Old Parliament House
  29. 29. Peel Castle & Heritage Centre
  30. 30. Peel: 1990s- Difficult times for town and castle <ul><li>decline of fishing </li></ul><ul><li>shops closing </li></ul><ul><li>properties derelict </li></ul><ul><li>people leaving </li></ul><ul><li>major heritage site </li></ul>
  31. 31. New Heritage Cemtre
  32. 32. New Heritage Presentations
  33. 33. New Heritage Experiences
  34. 34. Telling the Story <ul><li>latest technology </li></ul><ul><li>narrative technique </li></ul><ul><li>links object to landscape </li></ul>
  35. 35. Emphasising the “real sites” in the countryside
  36. 36. Landscape Conservation & new public access
  37. 37. Removing the “fear” of accessing the countryside
  38. 38. Countryside Restorations
  39. 39. Results : Change of Perception & Service Expansion <ul><li>4 museum sites in 1990 </li></ul><ul><li>13 museum sites in 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Integration of special landscapes </li></ul><ul><li>Integration of National Monuments </li></ul>
  40. 40. Results : New Access to the Historic Landscape
  41. 41. Results: Local Economy <ul><li>local economy improved </li></ul><ul><li>buildings restored </li></ul><ul><li>new restaurants </li></ul><ul><li>increased pride </li></ul><ul><li>increased involvement </li></ul>
  42. 42. Results: Cultural Tourism <ul><li>tourism pattern changed </li></ul><ul><li>destination image changed </li></ul><ul><li>based on cultural image </li></ul><ul><li>industry more focussed </li></ul><ul><li>lower volume/higher spend </li></ul><ul><li>European linkages </li></ul><ul><li>quality facilities </li></ul><ul><li>confidence in product </li></ul>
  43. 43. Results: Local Education <ul><li>increased school links </li></ul><ul><li>new academic research </li></ul><ul><li>£1m new national history </li></ul><ul><li>new higher education courses </li></ul><ul><li>new National Curriculum </li></ul>
  44. 44. Results: Heritage Awards <ul><li>British &quot;Museum of the Year Award&quot; (1992/93) </li></ul><ul><li>Museums Association Gulbenkian Award (1992) </li></ul><ul><li>Tourism award for excellence (1992) </li></ul><ul><li>European Museum of the Year Special Award (1994) </li></ul><ul><li>“ International Ambassador” (1998) </li></ul><ul><li>British “Museum of the Year Award” (1998) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Interpret Britain” award (1999) </li></ul><ul><li>Civic Trust Award (1999) </li></ul><ul><li>British Archaeological Award (2001) </li></ul><ul><li>Heritage Interpretation Award (2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Best Customer Service Award (2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Industrial Archaeology Soc Award (2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Visitor Attraction of the Year (HOM -2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Museums & Heritage Award for Excellence (2008) </li></ul>
  45. 45. Results: International Profile <ul><li>high profile openings </li></ul><ul><li>International awards </li></ul><ul><li>new local pride in product </li></ul><ul><li>international publicity </li></ul>
  46. 46. King & Queen of Norway
  47. 47. Results: New International Contacts <ul><li>Norway </li></ul><ul><li>Sweden </li></ul><ul><li>Finland </li></ul><ul><li>Italy </li></ul><ul><li>Portugal </li></ul><ul><li>Greece </li></ul><ul><li>Russia </li></ul><ul><li>Falkland Islands </li></ul>
  48. 48. MNH at the Council of Europe <ul><li>The European landscape Convention: “ The IOM presentation was a perfect example of a success story and a European model.” (Co of Europe Head of Regional Planning, 30 Nov. 2001) </li></ul>
  49. 49. Results: Community Support <ul><li>new partners </li></ul><ul><li>doubled membership </li></ul><ul><li>confidence for investment </li></ul><ul><li>increased visitor numbers </li></ul><ul><li>local heritage groups </li></ul><ul><li>business sponsorship </li></ul>
  50. 50. Results:The Story of Mann <ul><li>580 Km2 of themed historic landscape </li></ul><ul><li>A “local heritage identity”, not just museums </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-site </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-disciplinary </li></ul><ul><li>A Co-ordinated international heritage “product” </li></ul>
  51. 51. The MNH Estate is Island-Wide <ul><li>13 staffed sites </li></ul><ul><li>Over 50 historic buildings </li></ul><ul><li>Over 40 Listed Ancient Monuments </li></ul><ul><li>c.3,000 acres of protected landscape </li></ul>
  52. 52. Results:- New Product – New Perception – New Brand?
  53. 53. Heritage in Nation-Branding <ul><li>Throughout the discussions on “Branding”, we have maintained a vision of a society that: </li></ul><ul><li>understands, values, cares for and enjoys its heritage </li></ul><ul><li>nurtures it as an important part of its present and future success </li></ul><ul><li>recognizes that our heritage has formed our national personality </li></ul><ul><li>that our shared heritage provides the firm foundations on which we can all join together as a community and on which our freedom to flourish in the future can, and should, be built with pride and confidence. </li></ul>
  54. 54. Values of Cultural Democracy <ul><li>What are our Community Values? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there community participation? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there community understanding? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there clear community benefits? </li></ul>
  55. 55. The “Story of Mann” - the heritage process in the community
  56. 56. Shared community perceptions sustain the value of heritage assets .
  57. 57. Stephen Harrison email: heritage@manx.net www.storyofmann.com
  58. 58. Results: Cultural Themes - brands within brands
  59. 59. Branding: Who is it for? What is it for?
  60. 60. The Views of the People