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Teaching Heritage

Board of Studies NSW

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head Jana Vytrhlik

Manager, Education and Visitor Services, Powerhouse Museum

I think that heritage is one of the least understood term[s], it’s like culture, it’s like art, it’s like tradition, people really don’t know exactly what it means, it’s quite [a] big word and if you translate it in other languages, like the language I speak Czech language for example, it’s exactly the same, it’s [an] enormous word, it’s a huge term but not many people understand exactly what it is. To me heritage means something I treasure, on a personal level, something I treasure from my past, from the country where I was born, something I can learn, something I learn in a new country when I came to Australia. I think that the widely held understanding of heritage is more on the concrete level, like there are buildings, there are places, there are cultural sites, there is natural heritage as well, but I think that it’s far more important to include people’s level of understanding, like to me language is very much part of heritage, the atmosphere of a city. When I was walking just here through Clarence Street, I put myself on a task, like what would I think is heritage, just walking through 500 metres of Clarence Street, what is the heritage, what do I include in the heritage, and there is a Penfold shop and in front of the Penfold shop was the horse carriage parked with the old type of carriage which was probably used at the end of the nineteenth century. So that’s the obvious heritage part but then, the people, the way they talk, the people [who] use the city, the atmosphere of the city, is very much my understanding of heritage and that should be somehow treasured.

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