Time Travel Workshop, 28 October 2009 at Worcester Museum

The aim of the workshop was:
to discuss and establish definitions, goals and methods on Historic Environment Education and Time Travels in South Africa.
to discuss the way forwards for Historic Environment Education and Time Travels in the new organization Bridging Ages South Africa.

Present: Bertdene Laubscher, Togryers museum, Velaphi Fatyela, Potchefstroom Time Travel Committee, Dudu Modise, Potchefstroom Time Travel Committee, Elisabeth Bowes, Paarl Museum, Ella Odendaal, Western Cape Museum Scientific Service, Marilyn Fransman, Paarl Museum, Quintilian Solomons, Pniel Primary School, Milton van Wyk, Pniel Primary School, Nichole van Graan, Pniel Primary School, Sanjay Singh, Mpumelanga Department of Culture, Sport and Recreation, Kgomotso Mogethi, Mpumelanga Department of Culture, Sport and Recreation, Ntombekaya, PJB Cona Primary School, Pinkana Tau, PJB Cona Primary School, Tracey Randle, Solms-Delta van de Caap Museum, Derick Adonis, Solms-Delta van de Caap Museum, Chantal Lintnaar, Wolseley Secondary School, Renée Wicomb, Wolseley Secondary School, Kobus Fourie, Destiny Community Centre, Ann Koopman, Wolseley Secondary School, Louis Marais, Wolseley Secondary School, Daphne Mflatela, Nonkululeko AS Centre, Priscilla Mgobosa, Nonkululeko AS Centre, Tizzie Mangiagalli, Worcester Museum, Brenda Matsau, Worcester Museum, Helen Eklund, Kalmar läns museum, Ebbe Westergren, Kalmar läns museum, Gulshera Khan, Port Shepstone Time Travel Committee, Mark Sole, KZN Museum Service.

Ebbe Westergren gave a short introduction on the history of Historic Environment Education and Time Travels in Sweden and other countries. There were reports on Time Travel Education from different parts of South Africa: Port Shepstone/ KwaZulu-Natal, Potchefstroom/ North West Province, Mpumelanga, and Bain's Kloof Pass, Wolwekloof, Pniel, Paarl, Worcester and Clanwilliam in the Western Cape.

What is Historic Environment Education and Time Travels?
The participants discussed in groups. Many ideas were presented, among others:

  • The main focus is the site and the local history. Sites that are important to the local community, that has meaning.
  • Using local sites · Mapping of historical sites: Identify sites, Use study circles, Community research on the sites.
  • Focus on the very local history with the bottom-up perspective.
  • Presenting the hidden history
  • Interactive educational method: encourage critical thinking
  • Holistic Education
  • Connect the past with present through key questions
  • Active learning · Involvement of parents and community
  • Reflection
  • Learning by doing and reflection through dialogue

The Bridging Ages definition of Historic Environment Education:
Historic Environment Education uses local historic sites and nearby history as an active way of learning and inspiring today's people and communities about the past.

The Bridging Ages definition of Time Travels:
Time Travels is an educational method where the participants research and take part in the life of another historical time period in order to learn about themselves and their society.

What are the core methods of Historic environment Education and Time Travels?

  • Community involvement.
  • Participation of community members, parents and learners
  • Interactive for community members and learners in both Research and Time Travels.
  • Study groups and Study circles · Education in schools · Reflection and the Reflecting dialogues.
  • Learning by doing and reflection · Involving all the senses
  • Challenging the participants.

Time Travels is not a theatre play or a re-enactment of the past.

Historic Environment Education and Time Travels in South Africa always include the following:

  • Focus on Local Sites (Local history) and the Stories of the Sites
  • Bottom up perspective, History from below
  • Key questions, connect today with the past
  • Interaction with both the community and schools in research, education/studies and Time Travels
  • A reflecting dialogue; learning by doing, reflection and challengingIf one or several parts are missing it is not Historic Environment Education and Time Travels.

What are the goals of Historic Environment Education and Time Travels in South Africa?
After a discussion in groups the participants agreed on the following: ·

  • Community development
  • Healing the community, Social cohesion, Naion building. (breaking down the walls, change in behaviour and thoughts, bring cultures in the community together).
  • Folkbildning, make people grow and take responsibility.
  • Reveal the hidden or the forgotten history including sensitive issues. How to write a scenario?
  • Facts (1-2 pages) · Scenario (1 page)
  • Key Questions · Roles
  • Activities (leaders per activity)
  • Time plan
  • Props and costumes

Implementation of Historic Environment Education and Time Travels in the different provinces and the organization of Bridging Ages South AfricaThis was a start of a discussion on the organization and work of Bridging Ages South Africa and how to spread Historic Environment Education and Time Travels all over South Africa.

Bridging Ages has:

  • an international board
  • a national board
  • will have provincial boards or steering committees or networks. The provincial organizations will probably be different according to different conditions
  • local committees or subcommittees/study circles

The importance of training was emphasized and the need for standards/guidelines. Training is needed for

  • Leaders of Time Travels. (There is for instance a need for training on how to write a scenario.)
  • Teachers, staff working in centres for elderly, community members etc, those who take their groups to Time Travels.

Training could be anything from a one-day workshop to several training sessions to university courses.


  • Form Time Travel committees and study groups that can drive the process in the community, including community members, teachers, staff at centres for elderly, museum personal and everyone who is interested in the local history.
  • Identity sites, map local heritage sites.
  • Begin with research and interviews
  • Start small and grow
  • Consult the coordinator Sustainable funding is needed

Bertdene Laubscher
Togryers Museum

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