Heritage Bridge – a collaboration project on 100 years anniversaries

When Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania all celebrated our 100 years anniversaries in 2017-2018, we saw a great opportunity to collaborate on heritage education and Time Travels. In all four countries, there was a demand for different programs on history and heritage for both schools and museums. Heritage Bridge started as a Nordplus Horizontal project in June 2016 and finished in July 2018. The project was coordinated by the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia in Finland and the partners were the National Museum of Estonia and Audentes school in Estonia, Tukums museum in Latvia and Gargzdai Museum in Lithuania.

Our goal was to find ways for schools and museums to work together on heritage education through the Time Travel method. Through our collaboration we also got ideas and inspiration from each other, since our themes were quite similar, but still different. We met in all countries and took part in different programs; Time Travels, educational programs and seminars.

Every country also developed a program. Finland did a Time Travel tour in the Ostrobothnia region. We covered all the 16 municipalities and invited all the 8th graders in each municipality. We also did a special Time Travel to 1918 for a big vocational school, where 300 students took part. Most Time Travels went back and discussed the time before the Civil War in 1917/1918 as well as just after, when the question was how do we go forward from here now? How do we create an inclusive country? We collaborated with museums, heritage associations and other local associations.

Estonia did a grand Time Travel; on the 7th of February 2018, about 8300 pupils around Estonia travelled back to 1918, when the independence declaration for Estonia was read. Estonia held trainings for teachers on how to work with the Time Travel method and also did a Time Travel to create understanding of the event. The Facebook-group created for the event gathered 180 members and in this group where info and material could easily be shared. On the day, the 7th of February 2018, over 8000 pupils travelled back in time. The Time Travel started with the reading of the declaration of independence for Estonia, which was read in all schools on that day. The experience became very popular, gathered big media attention and a plan to create the next common Time Travel to 1869 and the first song festival.

In Latvia and Tukums, the focus in the program was on the cooperation between the museum educators and the regional association of history teachers. Tukums museum organized workshops and trainings for the teachers and created 3 different Time Travel scenarios according to the curriculum. One of the Time Travels took place in 1918 and discussed the situation for Latvia as a young state, with discussions on independence and democracy.

The project’s final seminar was also organized in Latvia.

Gargzdai area museum in Lithuania wanted to focus on creating a collaboration with the museum and the educational system in the region. The museum organized a seminar for teachers to introduce them to the subject as well as creating a scenario for a Time Travel to 1939. This Time Travel was done 5 times and that way the method got a wider spread in the area. The project helped the museum to collaborate more with schools, other museums and most importantly with Klaipeda region education center. Better dialogue between culture- and education institutions created new projects in Gargzdai Area museum.

The project was a big success in all four countries. The collaborating institutions had a similar view of the goals and aims, which made the teamwork a joy. The work over the borders gave us all new ideas and inspiration to new programs and ways of working! The results were over 10 000 participants in the created programs and many new ideas for continued collaborations!

More info on the project can be found here

Annina Ylikoski, Regional Council of Ostrobothnia, Finland