Another record-breaking year!
Over 5,500 events happening around the country for Heritage Open Days
In recent years, every part of the heritage sector – from museums to military history sites, public parks and local councils – has suffered huge funding cuts, leaving many organisations struggling to survive, relying increasingly on local volunteers and civic groups. Once a year, Heritage Open Days – the country’s largest festival of history and culture – brings together these organisations, along with history enthusiasts, and grassroots groups, to celebrate the best of local heritage, and remind us that history is at the core of how we define ourselves as a nation.
This year, Heritage Open Days has grown again - an increase of 300 events on 2016 and over 2,000 organisers – representing every type of organisation, from household names such as M&S, Bourneville and the BFI to volunteer-run civic associations, who create unique programmes of walks, talks and openings. Four landmark, newly-created arts events, focusing on LGBTQ history, have broadened the reach of the festival, along with a focus on natural – as well as built – heritage.
“With increased pressure on funding, these are challenging times for grassroots heritage,” says HODs manager, Annie Reilly. “It’s therefore all the more humbling and inspiring to see our army of organisers grow each year, along with the number of events they create. Heritage Open Days is a movement; it’s people sharing, saving and enjoying our precious heritage (built, natural, intangible) and the extraordinary stories that surround us. This kind of local community action -and enjoyment -is all too rare. Anyone who doubts this country cares for its history and culture need only look for the pink bunting over the next four days!”