8th World Heritage USA International Symposium


Expressing Heritage Sites Values to Foster Conservation, Promote Community Development, and Educate the Public

May 5 – 8, 2005
Charleston, South Carolina

Hosted and co-sponsored and by the Historic Charleston Foundation and in partnership with the Getty Conservation Institute.  With the support of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and Institutional Sponsors the National Trust Southeast Regional Officer, Clemson University, The Fleming Charitable Trust II, and Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi.

Interpreting Cultural Heritage:  A Success Story in Charleston
More than 200 registrants to the 2005 World Heritage USA International Symposium convened in Charleston, South Carolina to hear distinguished speakers from Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Poland, Slovakia,  South Africa, Tanzania, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe, as well as from all over the United States.  Attendees were welcomed by Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and Katharine Robinson, Executive Director of the Historic Charleston Foundation during the Opening Session in the historic Beth Elohim Synagogue.  Also speaking during the Opening Session were World Heritage USA Chair John Fowler, Dinu Bumbaru, Secretary General of ICOMOS, and local Charleston historian and raconteur Robert Rosen.

The speakers (see List of Speakers), who were selected from more than 160 who submitted abstracts, gave presentations that comprehensively covered current international thinking, trends, approaches and technologies of heritage interpretation (see Abstracts).  In addition, presentations by the World Monuments Fund and the World Bank provided overviews of these influential organizations’ institutional experience in cultural heritage interpretation in various parts of the world.  The symposium included a formidable array of field sessions (see Field Tours) and a number of dazzling social events (see Program Overview).

The Proceedings of the Symposium will be published electronically and distributed to all World Heritage USA members as the 2005 Annual Journal.

Click here to read the Charleston Declaration on Heritage Interpretation.

The Challenge of Interpreting Heritage Places*

For the past eight months, members of ICOMOS have been asked to review and comment on the Ename Charter, a draft doctrinal document being proposed for approval by the ICOMOS membership at the next General Assembly in China.

The Charter is named after Ename, a small Flemish village within the municipality of Oudenaarde in Belgium, where medieval archaeological remains have been uncovered and preserved.  Over the past 20 years, Ename has gained public attention both for its excavations and for its public presentation program.  Today, Ename is presented to the public in an innovative archaeological park, a unique architectural monument, in a state-of-the-art community museum, and in a functioning nature reserve.  The site is managed by the Ename Center, founded in 1988 as a non-profit organization to develop and disseminate expertise relating to the scientific study and public preservation of archaeological sites and historical monuments both in Ename and at partner sites throughout the world.
At a recent meeting of the ICOMOS Advisory Committee in Bergen, Norway, an interesting discussion took place regarding the intern of the Ename Charter for Interpreting Heritage Sites.  That discussion offered a complex reflection of cultural differences in the way that heritage is perceived and the role it plays in different societies, of the changes and shifts of responsibility that have taken place in the field of heritage over the past twenty years, and, of course, of the inter-generational divide among those who have resisted those changes and those who have embraced or indeed initiated them.  Among the many topics covered were one voice versus multiple voices, the elusiveness of new heritage categories, and protecting sites from over-interpretation.

These and many other topics related to heritage interpretation will be discussed by a field of internationally-renowned heritage professionals at the upcoming 8th Annual World Heritage USA International Symposium to be held May 5-8, 2005 in Charleston, South Carolina.

*Note:  You can read the full text of “The Challenge of Interpreting Heritage Places” in a recent issue of the World Heritage USA Newsletter (number 3 – third quarter of 2004).