Study visit 1: City of Sigtuna

Sigtuna is a popular destination because it has so much to offer visitors from all over the world. It was founded more than 1000 years ago, around 980. It’s the oldest town in Sweden and still called a city – its centre still looks as it did a few hundred years ago. Archaeologists have discovered the long history of Sigtuna and visitors enjoy seeing historic ruins and unique rune stones next to picturesque buildings. Runic inscriptions use a distinctive alphabet adopted before the Latin one. Sigtuna museum has recently started a project of redevelopment and renewal with the aim of developing a museum ‘without walls’ where the indoor interpretation complements interpretation outdoors.

During a fascinating walk, we will find out about the town centre and get a chance to discuss its potential for outdoor interpretation as well as visiting the museum itself. We will use the museum and town centre as a case study and discuss how the museum can use all its heritage assets to develop its interpretation.

Program

  • Guided walk from Sigtuna folkhögskola to Sigtuna City Centre. Coffee break at Drakegården Tourist Office.

  • Guided tour in the City Centre, ending up at Sigtuna museum.

  • Guided tour or self-guided tour in the museum.
  • Finally we sit down together and discuss how the museum can use all its heritage assets to develop its interpretation in a session, held by staff from Sigtuna museum. How can interpretation reinforce civic values and encourage engagement with local people as well as with visitors from further away?

Study visit 2: European Baroque in the Swedish countryside: Skokloster Castle

Skokloster Castle stands on Lake Mälaren between Stockholm and Uppsala is probably the world’s best preserved Baroque castle. It’s also one of the greatest expressions of the Swedish Age of Greatness during and after the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). Here, the Swedish military commander and statesman, Carl Gustav Wrangel, began to build a stately home inspired by other European potentates. Wrangel, to some, was a dreaded warlord who became rich from the booty of war in Poland, German states and Denmark but, for others, he was a scholar who endeavoured to understand the world by collecting art, antiques and specimens from nature.

Today the Swedish National Property Board is responsible for managing, interpreting and preserving the castle and its gardens, while partner organisations take care of the collections. The place can’t be understood without an understanding of the whole property – the building, its collections, its setting in the landscape, its use over the centuries – and its use and management today.

One current example is the work to restore an avenue of linden (lime) trees from the 17th century, but also the continuous task of managing the property. How can this approach to caring for heritage be interpreted and made of interest to visitors?

The challenge for the National Property Board is to provide information and interpretation so that visitors appreciate that Skokloster belongs to the Swedish people. It is their taxes which the agency is employing and it’s important they understand better why and how this is done. How can we enhance a sense of ownership among Swedish people? And what significance does this have for international visitors?

The study visit involves a 30-minute bus journey to Skokloster and back.

Study visit 3: Uppsala

Linné garden, taken by Jesper Kårehed

Uppsala University has an historic place within the scientific community which transcends the limitations of language. Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), the eminent biologist and taxonomist, was a teacher here and, famously, developed a Latin binomial system for classifying and naming nature. Today, it is still the foundation for communication among  biologists about plants and animals, regardless of the language they speak. It was certainly a great leap towards making scientists citizens of the world.

It’s no surprise that Uppsala is still a great place to interpret nature in the city. The natural history museum, Biotopia, provides an interesting mixture of local natural history and questions about the future of nature and Linnaeus remains an inspiring scientist in its daily work. The Linnaeus Garden in Uppsala was founded in 1655 as the first botanical garden in Sweden, and today it grows about 1300 species here. All were cultivated by Linnaeus and are arranged according to his double-name classification system.

We will discuss in what way Linnaeus can be considered an interpreter. What can we learn from his work? We will discuss opportunities about how interpreting this naturalist from different approaches can contribute to establishing identities from local pride to national esteem and towards global citizenship. How can interpreting nature in Linnaeus' home town encourage today’s people to become stewards for nature? We will meet Uppsala’s most ‘asked-for’ costumed exponent of the great scientist who will reflect on his own and Linneaus’ interpretation. We will also have the opportunity of discussing, with the manager in Biotopia, the exhibition and the Linneaus trails in Uppsala.

The study visit involves a 30 minutes bus trip to Uppsala and back.

"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones."
John Cage