An academic work proposes to take a look at how cultural actors, private or public, have seized in recent years the notion of «interpretive center» in the heritage sphere. This work is not intended to define a regional policy. It contributes to reflection and the promoters of new projects (creation or restructuring of the existing one) can usefully refer to it.

The concept of “interpretive centre”

Since 2004, the Ministry of Culture has defined a theoretical framework for the Centre d'interprétation de l'architecture et du patrimoine (CIAP) which are attached to the label Villes et Pays d'art et d'histoire.
However, the concept of “interpretive centre” in the fields of architecture and heritage goes well beyond the scope of VPAH. The multiplication, over the past twenty years, of this type of equipment which a priori do not preserve or present collections of artifacts, as well as the concomitant evolution of the discourse of museums (eco-museums, museums of histories, museums of sites, archaeological museums in particular) have difficulties identifying and defining these “interpretation centres”.

A university study conducted in Burgundy-Franche-Comté

Sarah-Yang Baud, as part of a master 2 (University of Burgundy INSPE - Department Institute Denis Diderot) in learning with the DRAC in 2021-2022, conducted a study on how various structures in the region effectively implemented the notion of interpretation around architecture and heritage. This photograph made it possible to collectively question the concept, to identify similarities and differences of positioning depending on the nature of the heritage object in question.
By methodological choice, the field of museums has been excluded from the study panel, except for a few isolated cases whose recent history is particularly interesting.

This study has its limits and the view on the concept of interpretive center would deserve to be shared with structures, private or public, that have not been completely identified to date, especially around knowledge-basedmake and industrial history or craft.
The choice of the oral interview method leads to difficulties in collecting organized or correctly sourced information.
Finally, the weakness of exchanges between professionals and the structuring of the regional network should be noted.


Photography of the interpretation of heritage and architecture in Burgundy-Franche-Comté

Author: Sarah-Baud Yang
Year: 2022
123 pages

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Interpretation centers around architecture and heritage: a look at the situation in Burgundy-Franche-Comté

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