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Introduction

Industries in port of Piraeus, Athens, Greece.
Industries in port of Piraeus, Athens, Greece.
By Milan Gonda, Getty Images, https://www.canva.com

When was the last time you visited an industrial museum or industrial heritage site? How much do you know about the industrial heritage of your country, Europe and the world? 

The term “industrial heritage” brings in our minds tangible remnants of the history related to industry and technology, including buildings such as factories or warehouses, machines, tools and products, transportation and communication infrastructure but also landscapes, known as industrial landscapes, e.g. mines. However, there is also an intangible side of the industrial heritage that encompasses skills, know-how and expertise; craftsmanship and innovative processes related to various industries, but also plenty of memories, experiences and stories that can be found in written, visual or oral sources.

This quest focuses on the tangible industrial heritage and aims to provoke interest and enthusiasm to explore local, European and worldwide industrial museums, sites and thematic routes. By conducting relevant research and visits (in-person or virtual), you will also be able to acknowledge the various tourism opportunities and the cultural and economic perspectives that exist for post-industrial regions. 

Task

Grayscale photography of locomotive train beside factory.
Grayscale photography of locomotive train beside factory.
Frans Van Heerden, https://www.canva.com

Industrial sites, as part of our cultural heritage, are guardians of our industrial past, arks of memory and important milestones not only for the national history but also for the history of humanity. Your task is to conduct an online research and explore the variety of online sources related to industrial heritage sites and reflect on good practices of industrial heritage use and re-use as cultural monument/site or for tourism related purposes. You are strongly encouraged to find out more about the industrial museums and heritage sites of your country and - why not? - organize a visit to some of them in the near future.

Process

You are encouraged to begin your research by visiting the website of the Council of Europe, included in the resources section. With over 1,800 locations in all European countries, the “European Route of Industrial Heritage” is a great opportunity for you to explore the milestones of European industrial history, focusing on your country.

Search for technological innovation, scientific discoveries and everyday stories from working peoples’ life and identify “proofs” that industrial sites are indeed part of our common European memory. Various theme routes are unraveled to highlight the European context of industrialization and the importance of industrial heritage for tourism development.

The European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH) is undoubtedly a valuable source, along with The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage (TICCIH) and of course the World Heritage List by UNESCO. Explore this list and search for the world heritage sites that exist in your own country. How many of them are industrial?

 

Conclusion

This quest, following the Council of Europe, highlights that industrialisation is an essential part of our European heritage, shaping our continent's history, landscape and the lives of Europeans for the last 200+ years since the Industrial Revolution. In each country, there are plenty of industrial sites, monuments and museums -unknown to many people- that can bring our local, national, European or even world history to life, building “bridges” between nations and people.

Evaluation

Learning Outcomes

  • Learners reflect on the current role and future directions of industrial heritage as a sociocultural and economic resource.

Knowledge acquired

  • Learners will recognize iconic industrial museums and sites at local, European and worldwide level and get inspired to visit them in person or virtually.

Skills acquired

  • Participants develop skills to include multiple perspectives in which different voices are heard.

Competences acquired

  • Learners raise questions about the common European industrial heritage and explore thematic scenarios focusing on their own history identities.