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History Matters

History Matters

Demonstrating a public commitment to heritage

History Matters - Pass it On, is a coalition of heritage sector bodies that set out to bring the wealth of history that surrounds UK citizens at every turn to the front of their minds.  "History is everywhere we look but people just walk by without giving it a second thought," says Ivo Dawnay, director of communications for the coalition.

Heritage bodies including English Heritage, the National Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Historic Houses Association, the Civic Trust, Heritage Link, the Council for British Archaeology and many others, demonstrated excellence and innovation in campaign communications, engaging the public in thinking and acting to demonstrate commitment to the UK's historic environment. This included the unique and powerful One Day in History mass blog diary of the everyday citizen's day. The event not only involved tens of thousands of people but left a permanent British Library archive of evidence about how we live today.

It was the first time the whole sector has worked together on one campaign. "While all were convinced of the public's commitment, it had never been proven or measured. The campaign set about engaging people in a way that left, often very personal and emotional, evidence of their support for the nation's historic places," says Dawnay.

Hundreds of events took place from family history road-shows which gave people a chance to learn about researching their ancestry to hands-on archaeology field day. To date more than 1.2 million people have shown their support by taking a badge or making an online declaration; over 850 local groups have taken part including local civic societies, heritage groups, schools and other voluntary groups; over 1 million people took part in the Heritage Open Days weekend when hundreds of heritage sites opened for free as part of the campaign on 9 September; and nearly 15,000 people have completed a postcard telling why history matters to them.

The campaign has been cited as an example of effective campaigning by ministers. "This suggests that one of our key aims, that of getting our message to government was achieved," says Dawnay.

Ivo Dawnay
Director of communications
c/o National Trust
Heelis, Kemble Drive
Swindon
Wiltshire SN2 2NA
Reg no: 205846
www.webarchive.org.uk/tep/14903.html

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