Aim of Case Study
The Pusol School Museum is an educational-museum project that has been running since 1968 in the unitary school of the rural district of Puçol, in Elche (Alicante). Its main activity is the education of schoolchildren using local heritage, and culture as teaching resources, while at the same time conserving, and enhancing these resources through its museum work.
The Pusol School Museum was founded in 1969 as an activity linked to the Educational Project "The School, and its Environment". This initiative integrated the learning of the trades, traditions, and natural environment of the Campo de Elche -carried out in the same rural environment where it was located- into the formal educational curriculum, thus enabling the conservation of a culture that was rapidly disappearing due to the mechanization of the countryside, and the replacement of the more traditional trades, and crops by other more extensive, and productive ones. Guided by a small team of teachers and external collaborators, the schoolchildren investigate the rich heritage of Elche in direct contact with the custodians of the traditions. The Museum, which at this time occupies the former homes of the school's teachers, is not limited to recovering and exhibiting objects but involves the whole of Elche society in the conservation task. This collaboration and active participation allows the recovery and preservation of traditional elements in their entirety and greatly enriches the pupils of the school, as they are directly related to the culture they no longer know.
From its inception until the mid-1980s, the project’s scope was confined to the boundaries of the rural area. However, as the achievements of this initiative gained notoriety, and were publicized in the local press, the operational range of the project was extended to include the remaining rural districts of Elche. Donations increased and, as a consequence, the Agricultural School Museum was created.
The Pusol School Museum of Traditional Culture is a project that was established in the 1990s and focuses on the city of Elche. It received a significant increase in donations at this time. In order to ensure the proper management of the project, an educational non-profit association was created in 1992. The museum was recognized by the Department of Culture, Education, and Science in 1992 and received its first financial support from the City Council in 1993 for an architectural extension. In 1998, the museum acquired an additional 8,000 square meters and completed a second extension in 2001. This extension included exhibition halls, storage, conservation and restoration workshops, a multi-purpose room, library, archive, computer area, service area, environmental studies garden, and a public car park. In addition to public funding, the museum also receives support from local businesses through a patronage program.
The great recognition for the work, and years dedicated to this community, open, and the participatory project came in 2009, when UNESCO inscribed the Centre of Traditional Culture School Museum of Pusol in the Register of Good Practices for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, making it the Third World Heritage Site of Elche. That same year it was awarded the Special Mention for Education, Training, and Awareness of Cultural Heritage in the Europa Nostra awards, and the Generalitat Valenciana awarded it the Medal of Cultural Merit. In 2011, Elche City Council awarded the project the Bimil.lenari Medal for its long and successful trajectory. The intense interest in this project in Latin America materialised in 2014 with the award of the 1st Ibero-American Prize for Education, and Museums, granted by Ibermuseos. The most recent recognition is the one received by the Integral System of Tourism Quality in Destination (SICTED) of the Ministry of Tourism, in 2016.
To date, the project has trained almost 500 schoolchildren, has more than 1,750 donors and has generated over four decades a School Museum with more than 100,000 items of all ethnological aspects: agriculture, trade, industry, folklore, traditions... The Centro de Cultura Tradicional Museo Escolar de Pusol is constituted as an entity that possesses unique and unpublished ethnographic and environmental collections, the product of an ongoing pedagogical, museum, and scientific activity of rescue, and restoration of the cultural and natural heritage of the city of Elche, and of the unique, and extensive agricultural, cultural landscape that surrounds it, the Campo de Elche.
• cultural heritage,
• Promoting traditions,
• traditional crafts,
• architecture, and restoration
Through this case study you learn that:
-Recovery of diversity, and intergenerational, and multidisciplinary work to make the project sustainable.
- To train local youth in the recovery, and promotion of local, and cultural heritage for its continuity.
- The work created in this project with the connection of museum, and school can inspire other entities, schools, city councils to promote heritage through young people.
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