Heritage interpretation is deeply connected with the history of the national parks in the USA. In 1957, the journalist Freeman Tilden wrote his seminal book ‘Interpreting Our Heritage’ in which he first defined interpretation as we use the term, and laid down its principles. Today, heritage interpretion is a worldwide approach. It has associations with a collective membership of thousands of professionals involved in interpretation and the subject can be studied at universities.
HeriQ is rooted in the EU Leonardo Project TOPAS (Training of Protected Area Staff) which aimed to define qualities and standards for heritage interpretation in Europe. In 2003, a pilot course ‘Basic Interpretive Skills’ was started where two of the HeriQ partner organisations were involved. Several courses to train and to certify heritage interpreters were run during the following years.
In Germany, the project ParcInterp resulted from that development. Three nationwide organisations agreed on standards, criteria and competences to connect heritage interpretation with learning for sustainability. For this, ParcInterp has been recognised by UNESCO in 2010. In order to transfer ParcInterp to Bulgaria, France and Greece, HeriQ was initiated by our Bulgarian project partners.