Ecomuseum Networks: a key strategy

A key strategy for the structuring and organization of ecomuseums has been to create and then operate within networks. Networking is essential and very beneficial for ecomuseums. By the early 2000s, the ecomuseum model had been adopted by a sizable number of communities. This was especially the case in France, Italy, and Spain. Cooperation, collaboration, and liaison partnerships are all key functions of the ecomuseum philosophy. From this, it was quite logical and seamless to begin forming networks of ecomuseums and other similar organizations like heritage institutions.

Regional ecomuseum networks saw immediate success. These networks allowed the combination of resources and produced great synergy in the areas in which they were implemented. In turn, ecomuseums grew in both strength and numbers. Inter-regional networks were soon formed and then followed both national and international networks. Some of these networks today are major powerhouses within the museum, heritage, and culture sectors. Networking has been a crucial strategy for ecomuseums worldwide.

In France, there has long been a national network of ecomuseums. An official definition of ecomuseums was added to French legislature in March 1981 with the Ecomuseum Charter of French statute. The French network, FEMS, extends beyond the borders of France to include the whole of the French-speaking world, which includes Belgium and Canada. Japan’s national network, JECOMS, has been in existence since 1995. Poland formed “Ekomuzea” as their national network in 2005. A national Ecomuseum Office under the Chinese Society of Museums was opened in 2006 and in 2007 Brazil founded ABREMC, their national network. Italy is the most recent country to create a national network of ecomuseums. This new development is expected to make a big impact. In 2016 an official “strategic document” of ecomuseums was published.

The ecomuseum field is expanding at an accelerated rate. Networks are a huge benefit allowing such accelerated success. As Italy fleshes out and implements its national network, it will be interesting to see the ramifications and influences it has among other networks and countries.

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