Last week saw this year’s launch of Heritage Open Days, an annual event celebrating local heritage by opening up events and venues around the country for free entry. Patron, Loyd Grossman urges everyone to ‘Treasure Your Treasures’ this September and be a tourist in your own town.
Heritage Open Days Patron Loyd Grossman has launched, what he calls, ‘the world’s greatest heritage festival’, rousing visitors to get out and ‘treasure your treasures’ during this year’s festival, which is taking place between Thursday 8 and Sunday 11 September. He was speaking to an audience of event organisers and stakeholder representatives from the cultural sector at the Heritage Open Days 2016 launch event at RIBA in London on Tuesday 12 July.
Also speaking at the event was Dame Helen Ghosh, Director General of the National Trust, who celebrated Heritage Open Days as an important annual opportunity to attract people who might otherwise never visit an historic site at any other time of the year.
This is the second year that the National Trust has received £150,000 funding from Players of People’s Postcode Lottery to help run Heritage Open Days. This support is also being spotlighted on the People’s Postcode Lottery website from Saturday 16 July when the National Trust is being featured as ‘Charity of the Week’. Speaking on stage, Jo Bucci, Managing Director of People’s Postcode Lottery, explained how Players have been supporting good causes in the UK and internationally.
A giant pink ‘selfie’ frame was used to launch the ‘Treasure Your Treasures’ theme for this year’s four-day festival, which calls on communities to champion their local heritage and show their support for cultural and historic assets on their doorsteps. Visitors are encouraged to capture themselves on camera with the objects, people or places that they treasure and to share their stories online via social media using the hashtag #TreasureYourTreasures. Specially made pink Heritage Open Days frames will be positioned in each region at some of the free events for people to put themselves in the picture with their treasures.
A highlight of the launch event was a panel discussion with three Heritage Open Days ‘treasures’ chaired by Heritage Open Days Media Manager, Harriet Roberts. The three passionate Heritage Open Days organisers were Rod Shaw from Mole Valley District Council, Dorking, Surrey, Trudi Barnard from Newcastle Under Lyme Town Council, Staffordshire, and Dr Rebekah Wood from The Malt Cross Music Hall in Nottingham who shared their concerns about the future of their treasures and the need to keep history alive for the future.
The ‘treasures’ theme comes following the results of a straw poll by Heritage Open Days, which showed that 95% of Heritage Open Days organisers had fears about the future of places like museums, galleries, archives, theatres, parks and historic sites in their own communities, which may be facing financial uncertainty. 225 local organisers responded to the survey about their treasures and their level of concern about the effects of funding cuts. They felt overwhelmingly that Heritage Open Days had an important role to play in supporting the future of their local treasures.
Loyd Grossman said the 5,000 free events held during the festival provided the ideal platform to stand up and shout about local treasures, engaging people in heritage as visitors and volunteers, and getting behind campaigns to retain access to places like museums, archives, libraries, galleries, theatres, parks and historic sites.
In the last 22 years, Heritage Open Days has grown from 701 events to over 4800 in 2015 with some 3.4 million visitors enjoying free to access events and activities over four days in September. Over 40,000 volunteers help to run the festival making it the biggest grassroots celebration of culture and heritage in the UK. It is coordinated centrally by the National Trust with funding from Players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The festival provides an opportunity to showcase buildings and hidden histories in communities. The database for this year’s festival is now live at www.heritageopendays.org.uk.
You can find out more about the impact of Heritage Open Days in their report on last year’s festival.
Press Information – please contact Harriet Roberts, Heritage Open Days Media Manager, 07784 129 649 firstname.lastname@example.org