Do you love the nature of your region? Do you think that cultural heritage is used adequately? Would you like to help the local community to encourage sustainable development with its use? Find out how Muses are collaborating in the establishing of the Interpret Croatia association, by wishing to network the local legacy into the big European story. Join us!

Ivana is proud of Poljica’s soparnik, Marko of the last European rainforest Turopoljski lug and the art of building traditional wooden houses, and Maja of the fishing tradition of her island. What they have in common is that they feel like heirs to the values ​​and skills of their ancestors, and they would like not only to improve their preservation but to design their care by incorporating it in a new way into the lives of their communities. Their path from enthusiasm for heritage to the realization of a successful project has recently become easier – they will be able to contact the association Let’s Interpret Croatia!

The Croatian Heritage Interpretation Association was founded in April 2016. Proven experts Darko Babić and Vlasta Klarić were invited to their small office by the Muses to found the association together. We have set 2017 as a full step towards a new approach. Why should heritage be interpreted at all?

Interpret Europe

The story has its historical and theoretical dimension. Historically, a new approach emerged in America in 1957 with the publication of Freeman Tilden’s pioneering book, related to the management of national parks in the United States. The European story has its roots in 1975, but it was not until 1999 that a more serious step was taken when the organization Interpret Europe was included in the story, then still on an informal and voluntary basis. Today it is the umbrella European association for the interpretation of heritage. Its recent executives are Thorsten Ludwig and Sebastian Zoepp, both from Germany.

“Even before such a form of association around the world, it was noticed that the old concept of museology is unsustainable and that heritage preservation must be approached in a new way. In the early 1970s, ecomuseums emerged as a result of this new rethinking of the role of museums in society, and the relationship between man and the environment. This is where the development of the so-called new museology. The essence is that the basic subject of study can be neither a museum, nor a museum object or a collection, but a comprehensive concept of heritage. To date, the various disciplines that deal with a particular segment of heritage are closer in concept and content. All these processes have led to the establishment of a new interdisciplinary science, the science of heritage “, says Dr. Darko Babić, president of the association Let’s Interpret Croatia.

When it comes to Croatia, the notion of heritage interpretations as well as the notion of new museology was quite unknown outside a very narrow circle of experts, which certainly influenced the weak and inefficient development of heritage projects. Circumstances changed for the better with Croatia’s accession to the EU in 2013, as it opened up new ways of financing natural or cultural heritage projects, which local communities in particular began to recognize, including such plans in their development strategies. According to Dragana Lucija Ratković Aydemir, vice president of the Association, a step further means – shifting the focus.

“Interpretation of heritage is based on the transfer of information about some form of heritage or some heritage phenomenon (whether tangible or intangible, cultural or natural), but in a way that the focus is on the user, ie the one to whom the interpretation is addressed! Quality and ingenious interpretation brings heritage to life, puts it at the center of the experience and connects the user with different spaces and times, expanding his knowledge of the world and himself.Good interpretation is creative, authentic, innovative, playful and takes many forms: from museum exhibitions, visuals, interactive applications, space markings, storytelling, animated films, in short, various forms of creative and artistic expression! At the same time, any serious approach to interpretation involves a lot of expertise as well as serious management skills, based on careful research and “, says Dragana Lucija.

Heritage interpretation and tourism

While the Muses are dealing with the development of one segment of access to heritage, the second vice-president of the Association, mr. Vlasta Klarić, a prominent expert in the development and promotion of cultural tourism at the national and international level. She started working in tourism as a student of art history and daily encounters the challenges of interpretation and presentation of heritage, in various ways promoting the education and professional development of tourism professionals in this area.

The different experiences of the founders also shaped the broad basic goals of the Association. First of all, we want to develop awareness of the importance of the role of heritage interpreters.

” Good interpretation is a guarantee of heritage preservation. This means that it must first and foremost be credible. For this to be the case, it must be based on a broad knowledge and skills of interpretation that must be set up to cover a wide range of educational and cultural goals. Only when the approach is so organized, it can be a guarantee that the heritage will be properly included in sustainable development and will serve to promote tourism, ” said Dragana Lucija, adding that the goals set in this way indicate that the main activities will be focused on education, cooperation of experts, networking with international associations, issuing publications and proposing measures to include the interpretation of heritage in strategic and development plans and the development of the tourist offer.

A particularly illustrative example of one aspect of heritage interpretation – interpretive guidance – is given by Iva Silla, a storyteller who in just a few years introduced thousands of tourists (foreign and domestic) to the secrets of Zagreb, bringing a turnaround in both tourism and heritage heritage issues. In her tours, she offers “secret Zagreb”, Zagreb that hides in alleys, nooks and crannies, which keeps its folk tales about dragons, ghosts, witches below the surface and behind the facades. Last year, Iva participated in the training for a certified interpretive guide organized by Interpret Europe and claims that this is the most useful thing she has ever participated in.

” Interpretation is a tool that can and must be learned. The training was attended by people from many countries, from various organizations, with different expectations and prior knowledge. This experience opened the eyes of beginners and the whole world of new possibilities was in front of them, and it gave us who are already doing interpretive walks how to critically look at our own work, how to improve it “, says Iva, emphasizing that she is especially happy that interpretive education will soon be offered in Croatia as well.

“I deal with tourism projects, but I want them not to be a mere commercial product, but to have a deeper meaning and help visitors connect with the destination,” he added, hoping that the association Interpretirajmo Hrvatska will soon gather members who will work in a networked way. each member achieves even better results.

Become a member

And who can become a member of the Association? First of all, it doesn’t matter if you work independently or work in an institution. All those who participate in any segment in the interpretation of heritage or new knowledge and skills just want to master it is enough to contact us by e-mail: The secretary of the association Ivana Jagić will be happy to introduce you to the steps for membership and planned activities! Let’s interpret Croatia together!

Let’s interpret Croatia
Interpret Europe