Nowadays, the Museums are heritage agents that act transversally on the social and cultural context in which they are inserteded, adding to their traditional functions of conservation and exhibition of the legacy they hold, those that respond to their role as reference institutions in the field of education and citizen participation. Thus, in the European Year of Cultural Heritage, the Museums become essential instruments for being heritage centers with a stable and consolidated position, in real cultural and educational engines of high value. The commitment to European Cultural Heritage as a component of social cohesion, which is shown in the Museums as a heritage of all.
In this context, this Project aims to evaluate and have a consensus about the policies developed by the Museums for the recruitment, training and put in value of their Volunteering. The civil society is strengthened in the Museums through specific programs of Non-Formal Education for Adults, a sector of the citizens interested in culture and that presents indicators of undertaking.
The Museums attached to the Project develop these programs for their Volunteer groups. They can thus carry out high quality learning and assume their direct participation in the wide and varied range of public programs in the Museums. These programs have been developed by the Museums in an almost intuitive way, depending on the particular context in which each institution is registered.
For this reason, the Foundation of Roman Studies undertakes this Project in order to know and share practices and working methods on these educational programs for adults at international level in centers of recognized competence.
The Project will follow a working method that will allow, in the first instance, make a general diagnosis about the average profile of the volunteer groups and their impact on the activity of the Museums, for later evaluate the training programs and their results on the activities carried out.
The partners’ choice will allow, on the one hand, to analyze and discriminate the practices in the environment of the coordinating partner, in a singular area of action, such as that of the city of Mérida.
The National Museum of Roman Art (MNAR) is a unique center in the Iberian Peninsula, for its monographic dedication to the study of the ancient Roman colony of Augusta Emerita (now Mérida, a World Heritage Site since 1993) and its territory of direct influence, as was the province of Lusitania, of which it was the capital. Beside the Association of Friends of the Museum, with more than three decades of experience, is the civil agent through which the group of Volunteers of the MNAR is created and organized.
In addition, the Project has two other European partners that will allow the development of exchanges and know other practices at a European level in this area, as well as strengthening the Networks of Work among Museums of reference at a transnational level. These are the Museum of the Imperial Forums of Rome and the National Museum of Archeology in Lisbon.
The possibility of evaluating the training systems carried out by these Museums through the development of this Project will make it possible to compare the different programs in an objective manner. It will be possible to draw conclusions in this sense directly, with a final report of «good practices».
The benefits will be direct, on the one hand, on the trainers of the institutions, and in the other hand on the educational programs that are offered to adults in the Museums. In addition, the final beneficiaries can be all the users of the Museums, who will receive a higher quality public service, as the competences of the executors of activities are reinforced, such as guided visits and numerous public programs.
The results will have a short-term impact, with the possibility of implementation during the development of the Project itself, and will be sustainable in the long term, as they are maintained in a structured manner in the Museum Education Programs.
The expected impact is high, since the institutions involved, and specifically the Museums, have a broad infrastructure created for dissemination and communication, with very broad and consolidated audiences with a high level of satisfaction.
In addition, the Project foresees dissemination campaigns directed specifically to information, recruitment and incorporation of adults in the Non-Formal Education Programs in Museums, with special attention to the inclusion of adults.