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Share Your Heritage Curriculum
Share Your Heritage Curriculum Translated into
Russian for Cultural Exchange Program
Two programs funded by the National Endowment for the Arts intersected in August 2006 when a delegation of Russian cultural leaders attended a two-week cultural heritage tourism residency program and used a Russian translation of the popular Share Your Heritage curriculum.
Several partnerships were required to bring seven Russian cultural leaders to La Crosse, Wisconsin for the program. Participants were nominated by CEC Arts Link, an international arts service program serving Central Europe, Russia and Eurasia, and approved through the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The sponsoring agency, Open World Leadership Center, selected World Services of La Crosse to organize the program and host the delegates. World Services is a nonprofit organization with a focus on international citizen diplomacy through professional exchanges around the world. The Open World Leadership Center, an independent legislative branch entity headquartered at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and the National Endowment for the Arts provided funding for the Cultural Leaders residency and translation of the curriculum.
“World Services added cultural heritage tourism to its programming in 2006 based on input by partner cities in Russia,” said Deborah Lutjen, program coordinator. “We know that tourism development is one strategy to economic development that is of interest to Russian leaders.”
Materials from the Share Your Heritage curriculum developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Heritage Tourism Program were a key component of the delegation’s program. Curriculum materials shared included handouts describing the Five Principles and Four Steps for successful Cultural Heritage Tourism as well as worksheets, exercises and informational handouts that provide in-depth training in cultural heritage tourism development. The materials have been used in more than 20 Share Your Heritage workshops across the United States.
“The curriculum provided key principles and a framework for delegates to observe cultural heritage tourism in the United States,” said Lutjen. “Our Open World grant provided funds to translate into Russian key sections of the reference materials. The Russian-translated Share Your Heritage curriculum will be useful in our work with cities throughout Russia. Delegates were provided with printed sections during the residency and an electronic version of all materials translated into Russian.”
Participants in the residency program represented five regions in Russia and included Russian museum professionals and local cultural managers committed to preserving their cultural and natural history as well as improving the quality of programs and increasing tourism.
Participants toured cultural heritage tourism sites in La Crosse, Sparta, and Madison, Wisconsin; Lanesboro, Minnesota; and Dubuque, Iowa. Local hosts included David Clements, La Crosse Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and Carl Miller, La Crosse Historical Society. Delegates also met with Sharon Folcey, executive director of the Sparta Chamber of Commerce and former director of the Wisconsin Cultural Heritage Tourism program.
Cultural heritage tourism professionals in Russia face many challenges, Lutjen said. “Tourism has primarily been developed for locals, and has not marketed to international visitors in the past 50 years,” she said.
“Participants were particularly impressed with volunteerism in the United States as this has not been part of cultural management in Russia,” Lutjen said. “They are starting to see more volunteerism now as historic preservation is becoming the responsibility of local governments and residents. They see it is important to recruit, manage and reward volunteers.”
Other areas of focus for the Russian cultural leaders included building community partnerships that can lead to regional tourism and fundraising – a challenge in Russia as there is no tax incentive for private donations to museums and local cultural organizations.
Follow up plans to the residency program are under way, according to Maureen Jameson, grants manager. “We are talking with Irina Shcherbakova, one of the program delegates, who is executive director of the Association of Arts Managers and works with communities throughout Russia to develop cultural heritage tourism projects,” Jameson said. “She is working to develop a coalition to host a cultural heritage tourism group from the United States in Russia. She is currently developing criteria for site selection and will choose two or three cities hoping to host a tour in late 2007.”
Share Your Heritage curriculum is available in English and Russian at www.culturalheritagetourism.org. Additional information about the Open World Program is available at www.openworld.gov.
For more information on the program, contact Deborah Lutjen, World Services of La Crosse.
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