Definition and Establishment of the Port Museum


Territorial definition and characterisation of the Port Museum

Territorial definition and characterisation of the Port Museum: the purpose is to document that the Port Museum refers to a coastal and maritime area characterised by cultural, geographic and landscape homogeneity. This would require checking on whether the existing tangible and intangible assets in the area concerned are perceived by the local community as identity-making resources. Specific mapping will be directed towards identifying any other cultural initiatives in the area in order to avoid duplications and/or promote synergies


Definition of the Port Museum’s objectives and of the cultural project

Objectives of the port museum are based on the Best Practice of Tricase Port Museum

  • To raise awareness and promote the sustainable development of the local community, the cultural, scientific and educational institutions, economic activities, bodies and associations;
  • To enhance the existing human and environmental resources in the area and to protect and promote the historic, cultural and artistic heritage, nature and environment, also through training, management and dissemination of participatory practices in the context of ecomuseums;
  • To support and implement educational, training, research and cooperation projects, and educational workshops in order to facilitate the active participation of the local population;
  • To support the conservation and restoration of traditional living environments, which are typical of a coastal area and of a marine environment/landscape, in order to bear witness to the tangible and intangible culture, the living and working habits of local populations, the religious, cultural, and recreational traditions, the use of natural resources, technologies, energy sources and raw materials used in production activities, with a particular emphasis on fisheries and on the work on the sea and with the sea, including their close relations with the hinterland and the other coastal populations, in particular in the Mediterranean;
  • To document, preserve and enhance the value of the historical memory of the territory, in its tangible and intangible expressions, through the implementation of an "active” and coordinated “management" of museum venues, documentation centres and thematic educational workshops, as well as the involvement and participation of the population and the institutions. The focus  is on the relationship with the territory for sustainable development, in particular on the social, cultural and economic issues, with the aim of promoting broader knowledge of local identities and traditions and protecting the environment and the marine and coastal landscape;
  • To pursue the mission of conservation, communication and dissemination of identity and values, shared with the educational, cultural, scientific, historical, nature-related, environmental and economic local institutions and the population;
  • To implement traditional knowledge through modern technologies, aiming not only at keeping alive local traditions, but also at developing their potential, thus promoting broader knowledge and diffusion of trades and skills, environmental education and respect for the landscape, in particular the sea and the coast;
  • To organise tourist and cultural itineraries aimed at promoting the knowledge of the territory and its culture, creating opportunities for the use of local products, education, sport and leisure activities;
  • To stimulate the interaction between the population and visitors/tourists in order to promote not only new forms of sustainable tourism but also a deeper understanding of the ecomuseum mission;
  • To organise cultural and educational initiatives designed to revitalise and promote the historical, cultural and environmental heritage of the sea and the coast, in the broad sense, and their activities and human resources;
  • To pursue social exchanges and dialogue between generations and with the peoples of the neighbouring Mediterranean countries, with the aim of revitalising technical knowledge and traditional manual skills and ensuring the correct relationship between consumption and renewal of resources;
  • To support and promote scientific research, educational and cooperation activities focused on the history, culture and traditional arts related in particular to fisheries and the sea, their interactions with the hinterland and the other countries, the life and typical activities of coastal territories, the environment;
  • To coordinate its own activity with similar entities at the regional, national and international level, including in the Mediterranean countries, which have been in direct contact with the local populations;
  • To create a network of national and international useful relationships to implement the purposes and the diffusion, participation and dissemination of results, thereby stimulating similar initiatives;
  • To participate in the Network of Puglia Ecomuseums and in Apulian and non-Apulian museum and ecomuseum systems;
  • To build a community-based participatory system characterised by organisational capacity, entrepreneurial responsibility, institutional cooperation;
  • To stimulate the population’s involvement and participation, since the Ecomuseum represents the expression of a territory’s culture and has the local community as its main point of reference.

Defining the objectives and the mission of the Port Museum lies at the basis of a specific Development Plan set out by the promoting entity of the Port Museum.


Establishment of the Port Museum

This step of the port museum project is usually preceded by a promotional action supported by the creator of the initiative.  For its inclusive and participatory nature, the Port Museum project necessitates, since its promotion, collective representativeness that should stimulate the local community’s recognition and awareness process. In the regions in which there is a specific regulatory framework, this principle is unanimously supported by local rules laying down the regulations for the recognition of the status of “ecomuseum of regional interest”.

Research data suggest that the best practice is to entrust the promotion of the Port Museum to one or more entities, such as:

  • Specially established non-profit cultural and environmental associations and foundations involved in preserving the historical heritage;
  • Individual and associated local authorities;
  • Public and private research bodies.

As for the establishment of the Port museum, it should be stressed that two different cases may be distinguished. In the first case the establishment is based on specific regulations (many Italian regions have got a specific law on ecomuseums), while in the second case it is not supported by any regulatory framework (Greece). In the first case the regulation provides for the establishing formality that regulates the legal recognition. It will therefore be necessary to identify a managing body, indicate a name, provide a logo and define a specific regulation.

The adoption of the Statute is an essential condition for the purpose of the establishment. It is not just a symbolic but also a substantial action, through which the Port Museum defines itself and declares its aims and how it intends to pursue them. It is an essential element of its own identity, through which it certifies its membership of the world of museums (the ICOM code of practice requires the existence of a Statute for accepting an institution as a museum) and of ecomuseums (thus contributing to a common definition in terms of minimum requirements), while still emphasising its own specificities.

Each Port Museum must have a statute and/or a written regulation identifying clearly:

  • Its nature of non-profit making, permanent institution;
  • Its mission and aims;
  • Its forms of governance and management;
  • Its financial structure and accounting framework;
  • Its rules and staff provisions;
  • Its assets;
  • The general principles for the management and handling of collections;
  • The general principles for public service provision;
  • The methods of data collection on the activity and management, for statistical and programming purposes;
  • The functions and duties that the Port Museum intends to carry out in the territorial context as well as within the framework of a possible joint organisation.

Accreditation and scientific recognition: this action, independently of the legal recognition, results in building up a network of relations and stable collaborative activities with local authorities and educational institutions.

The preliminary study on ecomuseums’ good practices, conducted in the first step of WP3 within the MUSE project, shows that all ecomuseums generally establish collaborative relations by joining regional and/or national and/or international networks. The same trend can be noted in Greece where, despite the absence of any specific regulatory framework, ecomuseums join both formal and informal networks.

An interesting case in this context is the Tricase Port Museum, which coordinates a networking project with Mediterranean fishing communities via the WEBPORT project. A short description of this best practice is provided below.

 The Port of Tricase is made up of a small fishing community, small fishing boats with little equipment, low-value catch. Men and women, old and young, keep carefully family traditions and are proud of their history and origins. They are aware that their existence is due to the sea and their future largely depends on it. The fishermen of Tricase Port Museum, together with the entire community and social, cultural and economic actors are an integral part of WEBPORT.CLOUD, the first digital Mediterranean port that, in addition to the Tricase community in Italy, includes the coastal communities of Tyre in Lebanon, Marsa Matrouh in Egypt, Zarzis in Tunisia, Algiers in Algeria, Nador in Morocco and Port Palermo in Albania. It is a space in which to show and exchange good practices and experiences, listen to the needs of the communities and identify concrete actions, encourage collaborations and development cooperation projects.

The following table summarises the possible actions, expected results and proposed operational tools concerning the step related to the Definition and Establishment.