Ecomuseums as a collaborative approach to recognition, management and protection of cultural and natural heritage

European Good Practice Label
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Recent demographic decline affects Europe unevenly: Europe faces high rates of depopulation, while urban areas experience higher population concentrations. Rural depopulation poses a major social challenge due to the risk of exclusion and poverty. The risk of social exclusion affects 27.1% of the population in rural areas, while in cities it affects 24.3%. Given the cultural and natural value of rural areas, heritage can be a source of development. 

EcoHeritage promotes ecomuseums as a sustainable approach to heritage management, fostering economic growth and social cohesion in rural communities in the countries participating in the project.

Our role in the project

Proposal writing

PM & development

Project coordination

Communication and dissemination

Quality assurance & evaluation

Administrative & financial management

Project objectives


Raising awareness of ecomuseums as a collaborative approach to heritage preservation, establishing a set of criteria for their recognition and a common methodology to improve their contribution to sustainability in rural areas in social, economic, environmental and heritage terms.


Providing the adult population in rural areas with skills through innovative training materials on active citizenship and participatory heritage management.


Creating strong communication networks between ecomuseums at national and European level to promote the exchange of knowledge and best practices that contribute to the sustainability of existing and future ecomuseums.


Promoting the creation of ecomuseums as a local resource to improve competitiveness and sustainability in rural areas in social, economic and environmental terms.

Main results

National and transnational reports

National and transnational reports on ecomuseums, social museums and other collaborative cultural heritage management practices.

Good practice handbook

Good practice handbook on how ecomuseums have developed strategies to cope with challenges such as economic difficulties, engagement of rural people and recognition at the legislative level.

Training tools and modules

Training tools and modules for participatory heritage management.


Web application hosting the European Ecomuseums Online Network (EEON) and the training materials created in the project, based on the OER approach.

Expected impact

The project aims to have a positive impact at different geographical levels:

  • Local: improved range of possibilities for implementing cultural and natural heritage-based territorial development initiatives in rural communities, as well as increased engagement and participation of rural communities in the decision-making process of their towns and villages.
  • National: increased recognition of ecomuseums as participatory approaches to heritage management, highlighting their fundamental role in social integration and cohesion, as well as increased awareness among public institutions of the need to establish a specific legal framework to protect ecomuseums. Academia will also be able to incorporate a social perspective in heritage research and in the responsibility of universities to transfer knowledge to society. In addition, this project lays the foundation for future national work in this area.
  • European: To facilitate an exchange between experts connecting academic knowledge, museum boards and ecomuseums across Europe to promote convergence between nations and regions, while respecting the diversity and uniqueness of each place. It also raises awareness on how to integrate heritage into the development of rural areas in Europe, encouraging the participation of civil society. And finally, it gives more visibility to European sociomuseology on a global level.