The State of Heritage brought together 500 individuals over 26 meetings to share ideas, situations, challenges, successes, relationships, and aspirations related to heritage and other disciplines such as museums, archives, and archaeology.
The conversations were extensive and far-ranging, covering topics from the definition and vision of heritage to future opportunities and from Indigenous cultural heritage and multicultural identity to environmental and economic impacts.
Overall participants’ feedback coalesced around the collective belief that British Columbia’s identity is strengthened and renewed through local heritage conservation. They noted that heritage has many benefits from protecting the built environment to create great spaces for human interaction, to building social cohesion through the recognition of all peoples and all cultures, to helping future generations make informed decisions. A strong value, yet to be fully realized, is its ability to bring people together through the collection and telling of stories for positive change.
Participants also noted that the heritage sector is facing a great number of challenges: in rural areas especially, many not-for-profit organizations are struggling to survive, and many local governments do not actively protect heritage with clear, accessible, and strong supports through policy. Participants observed that BC’s heritage, whether that is built heritage, cultural landscapes, museum collections, or the collective narrative of our history, is under threat.
This Provincial Roundtables on the State of Heritage Report proposes twelve broad recommendations — supported with actions that aim to evolve current systems — to positively affect the state of heritage, and to support the sector in reaching its aspirations.
The project was undertaken by Heritage BC with the support of the Heritage Branch.