giving the tools for heritage managers to optimize their sites and make them sustainable

The Heritage Management Organization (HMO) was established in November 2008 as a not-for-profit organization with the aim of promoting good practices in heritage management and planning. The HMO achieves its aims through tapping highly trained human resources, developing educational programs at all levels, fostering research, facilitating access to relevant information, as well as stimulating discourse. Since summer 2009, the HMO is under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture.

The HMO’s main goal is in helping cultural resource management organizations (CRM) to render heritage a sustainable source of education, culture, local pride and development through the promotion of good practice in managing heritage. The HMO runs a number of educational programsworkshopssummer field schools and an MA in Heritage Management; training current and future heritage managers in aspects of heritage conservation, architectural interventions, education, digitization, ethnographic archaeology, heritage photography, interpretation, climate change, human resource management, and in many other aspects of heritage management.

Heritage: The Challenge

The world’s heritage – our legacy of physical artifacts and intangible cultural assets – is a unique nonrenewable resource. In the words of HMO Co-Founder Leonidas Cambanis, “Culture is our greatest achievement. It is the soul of our civilization and what most defines us as a species.” It is all around us, in every community on every continent. It is a fundamental part of who we are. Each heritage site has the potential to become a thriving, sustainable beacon of education, culture, local pride and economic development. Yet our rich heritage is at risk from such threats as population growth and rapid urbanization coupled with under-valuing the importance of heritage planning by officials, climate change and increasing environmental pollution, or a lack of public awareness and engagement.

Our Response

Those charged with managing heritage sites are most often archaeologists, anthropologists, or art historians who are trained in a site’s scientific exploration. Yet, to sustain and develop a site in a broader context, the heritage manager needs administrative and community-building skills. The manager must assess the site’s needs, develop conservation plans, and employ state-of-the-art tools for site documentation and visualization for the long term. Concurrently, the manager devises and implements plans to develop the site’s economic potential and promote tourism. These plans ensure a site’s sustainability in ways that are appropriate to what the heritage represents and consistent with the local community’s needs and priorities.

The HMO was founded to foster effective, proactive heritage management worldwide. Its programs, through the professionals and students it has trained, generate a ripple effect around the world; and its alumni have a growing, far-reaching impact on the preservation and sustainable development of the world’s heritage in both developing and developed countries.
In order to ascertain the quality of academic decisions regarding the MA in Heritage Management, an international academic committee was established. And to ensure transparency, an international accounting firm audits the HMO’s books pro bono.

The HMO is grateful to the foundations, museums, universities, companies, public institutions and individuals who are supporting its work. Here is our latest audit statement.