Report of an iala seminar on the Preservation of Lighthouse Heritage Executive Summary

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10.3.Maritime cultural landscape

The presentation was made by Jo van der Eynden, Norwegian Lighthouse Museum. There was no PowerPoint presentation but use was made of the internet via

Presentation abstract

The pilot project ‘Maritime cultural landscape – Lindesnes’, which is a project based on a digital map, where information in the form of text, photos and short films is geo-tagged to geographical positions was presented. A technological platform has been developed, based on the use of digital maps and geo-tagged documentary films, photos and text.

The pilot project is focusing on Lindesnes Lighthouse, and the local environment, presenting the lighthouse history, and the lighthouse as part of a wider cultural landscape with other AtoN, historical harbours, fishing communities, pilots and so on. The project has been developed in close co-operation with the national lighthouse authorities

From the platform developed through the local pilot at Lindesnes, the project has now been widened for use in a national perspective, where a network of maritime museums will co-operate and contribute with information.

The platform has also been used as a Scandinavian pre-project, with the support from the Nordic Council, and hopefully the perspective can be extended to a wider international level, based on the contribution from maritime museums, lighthouse museums and lighthouse authorities. Indeed, the aim is to use this project to build an international maritime heritage network that can be formally recognized at the IALA Conference in Spain in 2014.

The web based service developed in the pilot project will be available world-wide via the URL

The goals of the project are:

  1. To reach people with maritime history through smart phones, tablets and PC/Mac.

By utilizing web based, mobile technology museums can reach new groups of interested people with the maritime history of their region. Tourists and students are obvious targets for the new service together with everybody else interested in maritime history.

The content:

Developing a technological platform has been one goal for the project, but the development of content for the service has been even more important. Five thematic documentary films have been made, covering topics from navigational installations, lighthouse history to weather and food from the sea. Short documentary films have been made covering specific geographical places and its maritime history. By using the digital map and assigning icons to geographical positions, the user of the service can get access to documentary films, photos and text telling the story of that specific geographical location.

The key points of the presentation were:

  1. The technical platform of the pilot-project.

Examples of the content and the presentations.

The plans and potential for extending the project on a national and international level.

10.4.France and lighthouse history: a global heritage?

The presentation was made by Vincent Guigueno, former curator of ‘Phares’ French Maritime Museum, Paris, 2012.

Presentation abstract

From Fresnel and his lens to the factories of Paris where metal towers and optics are produced and the myth of the lighthouse keeper, France has a passionate relationship with lighthouses. They are a heritage of our coast that is known all around the world.

Lighthouses are now in a phase of transition, after the departure of the lighthouse keepers. Conversion will however allow around one hundred and fifty buildings that mark the landscape of the French coast to be preserved. Now they have become heritage sites, lighthouses are opening their doors to visitors, who are fascinated by their history and architecture.

The presentation will address the current issues of Lighthouse Preservation in France to move to a more ‘transnational’ vision of Lighthouse Heritage. France was, along with Great Britain, a major colonial power, covering all continents, oceans and seas. Many lighthouses were built and lit by French engineers and industrialists all over the world. The presentation will take a few examples of recent cultural initiatives (Algeria, Morocco) that acknowledge this unknown part of French Lighthouse History and Heritage.

The key points of the presentation were:

  1. French Lighthouse History.

Lighthouse Preservation in France.

Lighthouse and French colonial History.

Historical Lighthouse International Network.

Co-operation in Lighthouse Preservation.

10.5.Overview of session and Q and A

In view of the fact that Greek lighthouses are owned by the Navy and are not open to the public it was asked how visiting French lighthouses were arranged. The reply was that this has to be on a case-by-case basis, with the example being cited of the limited access to Cordouan lighthouse. There was general acceptance that the safety of visitors needs to be considered most carefully.

Echoing comments made in his welcoming remarks, Commodore Manolioudakis indicated that given the required change in legislation it may be possible, in future, to allow public access to Greek lighthouses.

Prompted by the example of Cordouan lighthouse, the discussion then turned to UNESCO recognition. It was explained that a site needs to be chosen by the government as a candidate for UNESCO recognition and that there has to be an associated management plan. It was then asked if IALA could be asked to support proposals to UNESCO.

It was asked if bringing new stories, as advocated by Vincent Guigueno, would change the history of a lighthouse. It was responded that history is always changing and that the new stories would add another dimension to existing lighthouse history.

The evening programme was entitled ‘Lighthouses in Art’.

End of Day 3

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