Le Havre, World Heritage Site

Maison du Patrimoine: Heritage House.

Le Havre, City of Art and History

Since 2001, Le Havre has been part of the Cities and Countries of Art and History network. The City of Art and History team has on offer a whole set of mediation activities dealing with local heritage: conferences, exhibitions, visits, animations….. Opportunities for the general public to discover all the aspects of the reconstructed city’s heritage.

They concentrate on the architecture of the 1950s, in order to enhance interest and raise awareness on the part of the inhabitants, particularly the young, regarding the reconstructed city and its belonging to the Unesco listing.

Since 2010, some of the tasks entrusted to the City of Art and History Department now include assignments which used to be effected by the Unesco Office:

  • Signage of Heritage Trails
  • Travelling Exhibitions
  • Communications and articles
  • Unesco Special Events

Opening Heritage House – Perret Studio (2011)

This opening generated new activities increasing clarity:

  • Thematic exhibitions
  • Boutique (merchandising)
  • Setting up a permanent presentation
  • Creating a network (Travelling exhibitions, taking part in national or regional events)

Workshops for school children

These workshops are mainly directed at pupils of cycles 2 and 3 (aged 5 to 11) and last from a half-day to a week.  These activities may extend to younger, nursery school pupils, Lycée pupils and University students.

Workshops are organized around 5 main themes, and can be adapted to the teachers’ projects, the pupils’ abilities, and the town district they come from.

  • Reading the city: urban growth of le Havre, from the origins to present time.
  • Artistic and architectural styles. Historical and social context of artistic styles in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and their echoes in present time architecture.
  • City and Port. Historical aspects (evolution of the original military port, towards becoming a major port of trade), geography (environment, landscapes, estuary…) and economy (present time port facilities, maritime traffic, technical data, major developments….).
  • The Reconstruction: Historical context, principles of construction, architectural vocabulary used in the context of structural Classicism, perception of modern heritage, World Heritage.
  • Districts of Le Havre. Being aware of one’s close environment and discovering another district or theme.

The passing on process

Within the Cities and countries of Art and History network, activities are led by  approved lecturer guides. This guarantees a quality of performance and knowledge transmission with a capacity to adapt to various audiences.  Originally planned to follow a “vertical” vector of transmission (from an “all-knowing” person down to the audience), conferences can be flexible and follow transversal lines, thus encouraging exchanges: indeed, a stereotyped presentation, repeated parrot-like cannot apply to such a singular part of the  Heritage landscape.

One really needs to show, point out, explain while recalling the reasoning followed at the time of the reconstruction, then it is time for a dialogue during which transmission on the one hand, and appropriation of the knowledge on the other hand will take place. Heritage workshops, class projects including sites visits, city readings including restitution presentations in class, all allow such dialogue to take place.