Local Heritage: The Heritage That Surrounds Us

17 May 2019

When we think of ancestry, heritage is not far behind.

According to Yourdictonary, heritage has two definitions.

  1. The background from which one derives from. We may have Dutch or Spanish ancestry for example.
  2. Money or valuable goods left to a child in their parent’s Will.

Of course nowadays, many people are of mixed heritage – where the mother and father are of different races.

Heritage, however, isn’t solely familial…

Heritage word cross

How do we learn about heritage?

We have heritage all around us!

Local heritage sites are cited worldwide in many towns and cities. They document the local community history of that area.

We can learn, share and teach others through three main types of heritage sites: natural, cultural and mixed.

Natural heritage sites are restricted to areas that are ‘natural’. They may display examples of the Earth’s record of life, rare natural phenomena or examples of ongoing ecological and biological evolutionary processes. Examples of natural heritage sites are Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland and The Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

National Heritage site Giant’s Causeway

The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

A cultural heritage site comprises of historic buildings, towns, archaeological sites and monumental sculptures. Examples are The City of Cuzco in Peru and Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, UK.

The City of Cuzco in Peru

Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, UK

Mixed heritage sites contain both natural and cultural aspects. Everglades National Park in Florida, USA and Maritime Mercantile City in Liverpool, UK are two examples.

Everglades National Park in Florida, USA

Maritime Mercantile City in Liverpool, UK

What can heritage sites tell us and why are they so important?

“Culture and its heritage reflect and shape values, beliefs, and aspirations, thereby defining a people’s national identity. It is important to preserve our cultural heritage, because it keeps our integrity as a people.” [Source]

the word culture under a magnifying glass

What you can do for Local Community History Month

Visit a local heritage site and encourage others to visit too!

This year from the 13 to 22 September, thousands of heritage sites across the UK will open their doors to celebrate heritage, community, and history! Read here for more details on heritage open days near you.

Our next blog feature for Local Community History Month will be on local histories in Calne on 31 May (where our office is based!). In the meantime, if you’re in need of more blog related fun, have a read of our blogs for the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge, starting with the letter A.

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