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From generation to generation: Heritage for all ages

What can older generations teach us about heritage? How can the lens through which young people view heritage improve our understanding? During National Heritage Week 2021, project organisers are encouraged to include different age groups in their heritage projects.

In the past year, many of us have spent more time than before connecting with our families and local communities, both in person and virtually. Some have taken up new hobbies together and others have taken time to uncover untold stories or explore heritage treasures in their localities. The exchange of ideas from one generation to the next is vital to heritage creation and preservation; older community members share wisdom and life experience with younger folks, who, in turn, might add their own spin to an aspect of heritage practice.

As you build your heritage project for this year, consider centering your story on someone from a different generation. Is there a craft, skill or story that a grandparent can pass on? Can you teach a child something you’ve learned from someone older than yourself?

Several projects from National Heritage Week 2020 celebrated heritage for all ages and may provide some inspiration:

  • The Mayo Library asked schoolchildren to connect with their grandparents during the lockdown with their ‘Through the Ages’ project. Children between six and 16-years-old became reporters and contacted their grandparents via Skype, Facetime or even the old-fashioned landline to ask them about their younger years. Each child wrote a report, which the Mayo Library digitised and preserved as a permanent record of this unique time. More…
  • The Sligo Community Archaeology Project hosted ‘Kids Ask the Archaeologist!’ In a series of videos, children asked archaeologists questions about their work, the best objects they found and the tools of their trade. More…
  • Inspired by a school assignment, 12-year-old Neil Hyland of Caherdaniel, Co. Kerry developed the ‘Young Explorer’ project. Delivered online though a website and social media channels, the Young Explorer visits built and natural heritage sites to uncover local history. The Hyland family worked together to film, edit and compile music for the project, as well as collaborating on website design and digital dissemination. The Young Explorer has received over 10,000 views from around the world and was covered by RTE Nationwide. More…

National Heritage Week’s Wild Child Day will take place on 18th August, a day when we’re encouraging children and families to drop the devices, jump off the couch and get outdoors to explore heritage in their locality. Projects focused on children and heritage will be eligible to win the Wild Child Heritage Award. To access additional resources and tips for recording heritage skills and stories with digital media such as audio and video, register as a project organiser.