Definition of an ecomuseum

 

An ecomuseum […] is foremost a community and an objective: the development of that community.

– Hugues de Varine, local and community development consultant,
and director of the International Council of Museums from 1964 to 1974

<b>Hugues de Varine, at the 30-year anniversary of the Écomusée, 2012.</b> Photo: Julie Landreville, Écomusée du fier monde
Hugues de Varine, at the 30-year anniversary of the Écomusée, 2012.
Photo: Julie Landreville, Écomusée du fier monde

The term “ecomuseum” came about in France in 1971. This period is marked by a will to reinvigorate the museum and redefine its relationship with the public. The concept of an ecomuseum thus reflects a concern with reinforcing the connection between the museum and its social surroundings and environment.

An ecomuseum promotes the entirety of a culture and heritage related to a geographical territory and sphere of activity. This heritage can be material (artifacts, buildings) or immaterial (personal accounts, know-how).

Like all museums, an ecomuseum fulfills, among others, the functions of conserving, researching, exhibiting, educating and diffusing, to which a distinctly social and community role is added. As a result, it favours public participation in its activities; it is anchored in its community and contributes to its development.

 

 

A few avenues for those who wish to learn more about ecomuseology:

  • (1973). « Rôle du musée dans l’Amérique latine d’aujourd’hui. Table ronde organisée par l’Unesco, Santiago du Chili, 1972 ». Museum, vol. XXV, no 3, p. 129-133.   

         Click here to consult the publication online

  • De Varine, Hugues (1978). « L’écomusée ». Gazette, vol. 11, no 2, printemps, p. 29-40.
  • (1989). La muséologie selon Georges Henri Rivière. Paris : Dunod, 402 p.
  • Mayrand, Pierre (1989). « L’écomusée dans ses rapports à la nouvelle muséologie + – ou =. Néanmoins la trame indélébile de G. H. Rivière ». Musées, vol. 11, no 3-4, p. 11-13.
  • (2002). L’écomusée : rêve ou réalité. Lyon : Presses universitaires de Lyon, Publics & Musées, n° 17-18/2000, 248 p.       

         Click here to consult the publication online

  • (1985). « Images de l’écomusée ». Museum, no 148, vol. XXXVII, no 4, p. 182-244.            

         Click here to consult the publication online