Ecomuseums: A Sense of Place by Peter Davis

By Peter Davis

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Interpreting the environment In the late 1960s one of the earliest features of environmentalism was the upsurge of interest in rural issues. The provision of better access to areas of scenic beauty and more widespread and diverse recreational opportunities encouraged increasing numbers of people to visit the countryside. Many landowners, conservation organizations and governmental organizations responsible for managing areas of wildlife or cultural interest began to realize that informal education and information could help them to influence patterns of behaviour and the movement of people on their land, while at the same time informing visitors about the area and providing an enjoyable experience.

Eds) Conservation in Perspective. John Wiley & Sons, London, pp. 329–352. Lowenthal, D. (1988) Heritage and its interpreters. In Lunn, J. ) Proceedings of the First World Congress on Heritage Presentation and Interpretation, Banff, Canada, 1985. Heritage Interpretation International and Alberta Culture and Multiculturalism, Edmonton, Canada, pp. 7–28. Lowenthal, D. : Viking Press, London. Makins, M. ) (1997) Collins English Dictionary and Thesaurus. Harper Collins, Glasgow. Martinovich, P. (1990) Interpreting the environment: turning the past into the future.

What is it about our local environment that provides a feeling of belonging, a sense of place, the knowledge that we inhabit somewhere with distinct characteristics?  . ’ The suggestion is that everyone (not just Americans) takes their surroundings for granted, despite the fact that our tastes, values and aspirations, even all our cultural warts and blemishes are exhibited there. Lewis’ view is of course a very ‘Western’ one. For many indigenous people – Australian aborigines, for example – their environment and their cultural landscape are deeply significant and steeped in meaning and ritual.

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