Heritage trail from below, St.Eustatius

Worldwide heritage management focuses on tangible heritage, which also applies to heritage trail design. However, besides tangible heritage, incorporating intangible heritage in heritage management is important for maintaining community identity and has great social significance. In the Proposal for the Golden Rock Heritage Trail at St. Eustatius plans are described for making a heritage trail that aims at developing tourism at the island by showing the tangible heritage remains to the tourist. These tangible remains are also seen as being part of the identity of the island. The tangible heritage local people do not relate to, and do not see as their identity, which is a conclusion from previous research. This thesis aims to find a different approach to designing the Golden Rock Heritage Trail at St. Eustatius incorporating intangible heritage.

The notions identity and tangible and intangible heritage are translated to the landscape narrative research method that is used for finding the intangible heritage underlying the Golden Rock Heritage Trail through interviewing local people and historical experts. Local people do not relate to the tangible remains, but are attached to their personal memories of the past, experiences and current use attached to the places of the Golden Rock Heritage Trail. Many intangible heritage stories were collected and a new place of importance arose. Historical experts mostly relate to the stories attached to the tangible remains of the Golden Rock past.

The design for the Golden Rock Heritage Trail lets the visitor experience the intangible heritage stories by giving the possibility to step into the footsteps of the intangible heritage stories that are made visible through spatial design. Besides intangible heritage stories the tangible remains are also incorporated in the trail by giving information on the history of that specific place.

Maintaining community identity requires incorporating intangible heritage in heritage trail design which is possible through a landscape narrative approach based design making visible intangible heritage resulting in the heritage trail from below from a bottom-up, local-people centred approach. This is different from the Proposal for the Golden Rock Heritage Trail that encompasses the main focus on tangible heritage. The approach to heritage trail design proposed in this research tries to actively contribute to maintaining community identity by making visible intangible stories which appeared to be more important to local people and more part of their identity than the stories attached to the tangible remains. However, the tangible remains are also important in heritage management. Steps to take in implementation are protecting and maintaining existing remains, implementing the route for accessibility and execute place designs that may contribute to maintaining local community identity and tourism development at St. Eustatius.

This document was retrieved on October 3 2018 from WUR eDepot

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