On 18 April 1982 on the occasion of a symposium organised in ICOMOS Tunisia, which coincided with a meeting of the Bureau in Hammamet, the holding of the 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.
In Europe, many countries already celebrate the European Heritage Days, organised in September each year under the auspices of the Council of Europe. Nevertheless, a growing number of ICOMOS National and International Committees all over the world are holding special events on the 18th April.
The ICOMOS President, Michael Petzet, and the Executive Committee propose 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 at Risk report. This year it is suggested to put the spotlight on the Underwater Cultural Heritage.
However, 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 “Place-Memory-Meaning: Preservation intangible values in monuments and sites” (see the articles published in ICOMOS News and the ICOMOS web site).
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 co-operation; 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 that it becomes not only a Day to celebrate your national heritage, but also a day of international solidarity in favour of strengthening and safeguarding heritage world-wide.
If you are organising meetings, workshops, or other activities to mark the International Day for Monuments and Sites on 18th April,
please inform the International Secretariat
of such activities and the chosen theme, by sending us any documents and
press clippings. Information on 18th April is being published in the coming ICOMOS News and we look forward to mentioning a
selection of National Committee activities in the June/July 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.
ICOMOS International Secretariat
e-mail : secretariat[at]icomos.org