Heritage Interpretation for Senior Audiences

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All over the world, societies are rapidly changing, shaped by declining birth rates and the lengthening of life expectancy, fostering the rise of the “silver economy”. Senior citizens (55 years old and over) represent around 25% of the European population. Predictions are that, by 2060, about 30% of the EU population will be aged 65+. A great many people aged 55+ are active citizens with interests in heritage and the environment, and with the time and resources to satisfy these interests and enthusiasms. They are an important market for heritage sites and one that is expected to grow in the coming decades.

Supported by the European Union Grundtvig Lifelong Learning Programme, Heritage Interpretation for Senior Audiences (HISA) ran from 2013 to 2015 and involved partners from Germany, Italy, Malta, Poland and the United Kingdom. The end result of this partnership was the creation of handbook outlining guidelines for improving for senior visitors. It provides background information about the role of interpretation in explaining natural and cultural heritage, presents a comprehensive list of essential recommendations for the management of sites for senior visitors and offers ideas on how to market sites to them.

The main objectives of this project are to enhance the learning experience of seniors visiting heritage sites, museums and protected areas, identify the requirements and needs of this audience and design an interpretive framework which could be accessed by heritage interpreters and the institutions and organisations which host these audiences. The HISA Project contributes to fostering the appreciation of European cohesion and mutual understanding, encouraging seniors to broaden their horizon of interests and to reflect on European core values. It was administered by Interpret Europe, an organisation which supports projects that share good practice ideas and is funded by the EU. The aim of the project was to expand participation in museums and heritage attractions by the over 55s as some countries have no provision for this market.

The following lead partners were involved:

  • UK (Red Kite)
  • Poland (National Museum)
  • Malta (University)
  • Italy (Study Centre)
  • Germany (Interpret Europe)

You can read more on the Interpret Europe website or dowload some of the key documents below.


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