The origin of the International Day for Monuments and SitesIdeas on how to celebrate it !
On 18 April 1982 on the occasion of a symposium organised by ICOMOS Tunisia, which coincided with a meeting of the Bureau in Hammamet, the holding of a International Day for Monuments and Sites to be celebrated simultaneously throughout the world was suggested. This project was approved by the Executive Committee who provided practical suggestions to the National Committees on how to organise this day. Last but not least, the idea was also approved by the UNESCO General Conference……Since then, it must be said that in Europe this event has, to some extent, been supplanted by the European Heritage Days, celebrated in September each year under the auspices of the Council of Europe. Nevertheless, several ICOMOS National and International Committees continue to organise special events on the 18 April.
Each Committee is free to chose the theme(s) it finds most relevant to highlight on this Day. Some chose to draw attention to the triennial-theme established by the General Assembly, at present «the intangible dimension of the cultural heritage» (see the articles published in ICOMOS News or the ICOMOS web site).As you can see in his message above, the ICOMOS President, Michael Petzet, proposes that ICOMOS uses the 18th of April for all Committees to jointly draw attention to a particularly endangered type of cultural heritage, in conjunction with the annual Heritage@Risk report. This year he suggests to put the spotlight on the historic villages that are at risk world-wide.
Below are some suggestions of activities which can be organised nationally to mark this event :
visits to monuments and sites, and restoration works, possibly with free admission;
articles in newspapers and magazines, as well as television and radio broadcasts;
hanging banners in town squares or principal traffic arteries calling attention to the day and the preservation of cultural heritage;
inviting local and foreign experts and personalities for conferences and interviews;
organising discussions in cultural-centres, city halls, and other public spaces. exhibitions (photos, paintings, etc.)
publication of books, post-cards, stamps, posters
awarding prizes to organisations or persons who have made an outstanding contribution to the conservation and promotion of cultural heritage or produced an excellent publication on the subject. inaugurate a recently restored monument;
special awareness raising activities amongst school children and youth.
promotion of «twinning» opportunities between various National Committees, defining areas for cooperation; exchange of speakers; organisation of meetings and seminars, or the editing of joint publications.
a Scientific Committee could be invited to a country to debate around the chosen theme.
The essential thing is to mark this day so that it becomes not only a Day to celebrate your national heritage, but also a day of international solidarity in favour of the safeguarding of heritage world-wide.
If like the Moroccan, Hungarian, Costa Rican, Argentine, and others Committees, you are organising meetings, workshops, or other activities to mark the International Day for Monuments and Sites on 18 April, please inform the International Secretariat of such activities and the chosen theme, by sending any documents and press clippings. Information on the 18th of April is being published in the March ICOMOS News and we look forward to mentioning a selection of National Committee activities in the July/August issue. Also do not hesitate to send in any suggestions or comments you may have on the principle of this day and ways to celebrate it.