Centre for traditional culture – school museum of Pusol pedagogic project
Selected in 2009 on the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices
This innovative education project has two overall goals: to promote value-based education by integrating the local cultural and natural heritage within the curriculum, and to contribute to the preservation of Elche’s heritage by means of education, training, direct action and awareness-raising in the educational community. Implemented at the one-teacher rural public school of Pusol (Elche, Spain) in 1968, the project has successfully integrated heritage into formal education. Guided by teachers and external collaborators, children explore, in a play atmosphere, the rich Elche heritage in contact with tradition bearers, and contribute directly to its preservation. The children do fieldwork data collection, museography, and teach one another and visitors about heritage, studying and exploring the heritage by themselves. The project has trained almost 500 schoolchildren and has resulted in a school museum with more than 61,000 inventory entries and 770 oral files, preserving everyday life heritage and promoting the cultural mapping of local heritage resources. Between 1968 and the mid 1980s, the project remained within the boundaries of the rural district of Pusol, where the school was based. But as knowledge of the project’s values and achievements spread, the project’s operational scope grew larger, first involving the remaining rural districts of Elche’s countryside (mid 1980s) and later the city of Elche (1990s). The project is highly esteemed by the local rural community, the general population of Elche, and experts on education and culture for its pioneering democratic, integrative and participatory nature, and can serve as a model demonstrating the feasibility of bottom-up heritage safeguarding.