In March 2017, Interpret Croatia, in a partnership with Ivana’s House of Fairy Tales Visitor’s Centre and Muses Ltd, organised a three-day workshop about heritage interpretation for 35 participants from all over the country.
Interpret Croatia, The Croatian Association for Heritage Interpretation, was founded in 2016 to encourage excellence and efficiency in the interpretation of Croatian natural and cultural heritage. 
The venue for this first workshop was Ogulin, the Homeland of Fairy Tales, a unique destination with an identity built around fairy tales. Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić – Croatia’s foremost writer of fairy tales – was born in Ogulin. Ivana’s most successful collection of fairy tales,’Tales of Long Ago’, bears traces of the natural beauties of Ogulin, and the intangible heritage of its tales and legends.
The author’s inspiration has led to the development of Ivana’s House of Fairy Tales Visitor’s Centre, an international Festival of Fairy Tales and the Route of Fairy Tales. This development means that Ogulin is an excellent example of the growth of cultural tourism destination, based on heritage interpretation, storytelling and education. Ogulin was a natural choice for the venue for the first workshop about heritage interpretation in Croatia.
The goals of the workshop were to:
  • raise awareness about the sense of the place; 
  • give an introduction to heritage interpretation; 
  • show a wide range of the aspects necessary to understand this approach; 
  • raise awareness of the knowledge and skills necessary to interpret cultural and natural heritage in an efficient way; and 
  • give an overview of interpretive planning and interpretive guiding. 
The first day of the programme was reserved for a visit to Ivana’s House of Fairy Tales. We were guided by a costumed interpreter playing the role of the writer Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić. The centre director, Ankica Puškarić, made a welcome speech which was followed by dinner in the 19th century Hotel Frankopan featuring a show organised by local storytellers. 
On the second day of the programme, the key note speakers, Thorsten Ludwig, Vlasta Klarić, and Dragana Lucija Ratković Aydemir, gave a series of fascinating lectures. Topics included: 
  • the introduction and historical overview of heritage interpretation; 
  • principles and methods of heritage interpretation; 
  • opportunities to gain necessary skills and knowledge in the field of heritage interpretation;
  • basics of cultural tourism; 
  • types of interpretive infrastructure; and 
  • media and interpretive planning.
In the practical part of the workshop, participants were asked to work in groups on an interpretive planning project of an area of their own choice, using mind mapping techniques. Then local guide and storyteller Sabina Sabljak took participants on a thematic city tour, interpreting its natural beauties, tales and legends. 
The third day of the programme was reserved for practical activities only, where the workshop leaders, Dr Darko Babić, Thorsten Ludwig and Iva Silla (who is an IE certified interpretive guide), showed the participants the techniques of making an interpretive speech, using objects in interpretation, making facts meaningful and determining interpretive themes. 
One of the participants, Silvija Jacić, a freelance journalist who became a member of Interpret Europe after the workshop in Ogulin, shared her thoughts about the workshop: 
‘The workshop in Ogulin was an exceptional experience for me. In a great atmosphere, I met colleagues from all over Croatia, heard interesting lectures on heritage interpretation, cultural tourism and examples from practice. I especially enjoyed the practical part. Inspired by all this, I became professionally interested in the promotion of projects of Croatian interpreted heritage.’ 
Following on from this first and very successful workshop, Interpret Croatia plans to continue organising educational activities that will improve knowledge and skills in the field of heritage interpretation in Croatia. The organisation will encourage members to make connections and learn from other practices, and will publish literature about heritage interpretation to raise awareness of heritage interpretation and promote sustainable development with responsible and inclusive natural and cultural heritage interpretation.
Ivana Jagić is a museologist and heritage manager from Zagreb, Croatia. Since 2013 she has been working for Muses Ltd consulting and management in culture and tourism, as a museologist and tourism manager. She is the Association Secretary for Interpret Croatia and has been a member of Interpret Europe since 2016. She can be contacted at: 
To cite this article:
Jagić, Ivana (2017) ‘Interpret Croatia’s first workshop about heritage interpretation’. In Interpret Europe Newsletter 2-2017, 19- 20. 
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