ICOMOS Charter on the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites (“Ename Charter”) (2008)

Prepared under the Auspices of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites Ratified by the 16th General Assembly of ICOMOS, Québec (Canada), on 4 October 2008 .

Preface:ICOMOS Charter on the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites (“Ename Charter”)  (2008) was adopted by the 16th General Assembly of ICOMOS, Québec, Canada, 4 Oct.

Since its establishment in 1965 as a worldwide organisation of heritage professionals dedicated to the study, documentation, and protection of cultural heritage sites, ICOMOS has striven to promote the conservation ethic in all its activities and to help enhance public appreciation of humanity’s material heritage in all its forms and diversity.

As noted in the Charter of Venice (1964) “It is essential that the principles guiding the preservation and restoration of ancient buildings should be agreed and be laid down on an international basis, with each country being responsible for applying the plan within the framework of its own culture and traditions.” Subsequent ICOMOS charters have taken up that mission, establishing professional guidelines for specific conservation challenges and encouraging effective communication about the importance of heritage conservation in every region of the world.

These earlier ICOMOS charters stress the importance of public communication as an essential part of the larger conservation process (variously describing it as “dissemination,” “popularization,” “presentation,” and “interpretation”). They implicitly acknowledge that every act of heritage conservation—within all the world’s cultural traditions – is by its nature a communicative act.

From the vast range of surviving material remains and intangible values of past communities and civilisations, the choice of what to preserve, how to preserve it, and how it is to be presented to the public are all elements of site interpretation. They represent every generation’s vision of what is significant, what is important, and why material remains from the past should be passed on to generations yet to come.

The purpose of this Charter is therefore to define the basic principles of Interpretation and Presentation as essential components of heritage conservation efforts and as a means of enhancing public appreciation and understanding of cultural heritage sites∗ .




The 16th General Assembly of ICOMOS, Québec, Canada, 4 Oct.


  • Building on the Venice Charter, this charter seeks to establish guidelines for the interpretation of cultural heritage sites. It emphasizes the role of public communication and education in heritage preservation.
  • It identifies heritage sites and the intangible elements associated with the site as a resource for learning from the past. Therefore, interpretive programs must distinguish and recognize the phases in the site’s evolution in order to respect their authenticity. The Charter also emphasizes the inclusion of all stakeholders in the interpretation of a site and acknowledges that in some circumstances, a community may opt to not have a site publicly interpreted.






Intellectual Property



5 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Québec City Declaration on the Preservation of the Spirit of Place (2008) – Open Repository on Cultural Property
  2. Page not found – Open Repository on Cultural Property
  3. Regensburg Recommendation (2008) – Open Repository on Cultural Property
  4. Regulations on Protection of Famous Historical and Cultural Cities, Towns and Villages (2008) – Open Repository on Cultural Property
  5. Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape, including a glossary of definitions(2011) – Open Repository on Cultural Property

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