Treasure Your Treasures

Patron Loyd Grossman has launched, what he calls, ‘the world’s greatest heritage festival’, rousing visitors to get out and about and ‘treasure your treasures’ during Heritage Open Days between Thursday 8 and Sunday 11 September. He was speaking to an audience of event organisers and stakeholder representatives from the cultural sector at the Heritage Open Days 2016 launch event at RIBA in London on Tuesday 12 July.

‘Treasure Your Treasures’ is the theme for this year’s annual four-day festival, which calls on communities to champion their local heritage and show their support for cultural and historic assets on their doorsteps. Visitors are encouraged to capture themselves on camera with the objects, people or places that they treasure and to share their stories online via social media using the hashtag #TreasureYourTreasures. Specially made Heritage Open Days frames will be positioned in each region at some of the free events for people to put themselves in the picture together with or in front of their treasures.

The ‘treasures’ theme comes following the results of a straw poll by Heritage Open Days, which showed that 95% of Heritage Open Days organisers had fears about the future of places like museums, galleries, archives, theatres, parks and historic sites in their own communities, which may be facing financial uncertainty. 225 local organisers responded to the survey about their treasures and their level of concern about the effects of funding cuts. They felt overwhelmingly that Heritage Open Days had an important role to play in supporting the future of their local treasures.

Loyd Grossman said the 5,000 free events held during the festival provided the ideal platform to stand up and shout about local treasures, engaging people in heritage as visitors and volunteers, and getting behind campaigns to retain access to places like museums, archives, libraries, galleries, theatres, parks and historic sites.

In the last 22 years, Heritage Open Days has grown from 701 events to over 4800 in 2015 with some 3.4 million visitors enjoying free-to-access events and activities over four days in September. Over 40,000 volunteers help to run the festival making it the biggest grassroots celebration of culture and heritage in the UK. It is coordinated centrally by the National Trust with Page 2 of 2 funding from Players of People's Postcode Lottery. The festival provides an opportunity to showcase buildings and hidden histories in communities.