The Ostrobothnian Children's Culture Network BARK - Historic Environment Education for a region

In August 2009 I started working as a coordinator for the Ostrobothnian Children's Culture Network. This network is a part of a national network for children's culture in Finland called "Aladdins lamp". There are 11 regional networks all around Finland, which all have different development areas, all from music to circus art. In Ostrobothnia, our development area is cultural heritage education. Through this national network the knowledge about the local heritage and Time Travels are spread to a bigger part of the country.  

Those of you who visited the Bridging Ages conference in Finland in September 2009 got to see some of the area and the museums I work with. The area consists of 18 municipalities, both cities and rural areas, with different challenges and possibilities concerning cultural heritage. Our target group is children up to 18 years old. That means programs and Time Travels for young children, as well as for teenagers. We do a lot of Time Travels to different time periods and try to include different areas of art and also the local heritage education as part of the curriculum.  

The local schools play a big role in my work as well as museum associations and professional museums. For me, who travel around the area a lot, doing Time Travels, the help of the local partners is very important. This past winter my mission has been to travel around the region trying to document and connect the local heritage to education at the schools.  

BARK also makes presentations of Historic Environment Education and Time Travels for teachers at study days. It's much easier to sell the idea if people have experienced it themselves! Currently there are several minor projects going on; in Vasa there will be a Time Travel to 1799 in September 2010, in cooperation between the local museum, the city of Vaasa, the open-air museum in Stundars and the local schools. In other areas the Time Travels are about emigration, or dances of the 1940s.  

What makes this work exciting is experiencing so many different places and stories connected to them. And of course we all learn a lot working together...  

Annina Ylikoski