Masters and Apprentices is an intergenerational intangible heritage project coordinated by the Finnish Local Heritage Federation and funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Ministry of Education and Culture. The project involves children, youth and senior citizens exchanging and interacting around activities on cultural heritage-sharing practices. The project serves as a model for local heritage work and ensures continuity through its format.
The groups participated in activities organised by local heritage, museums, municipalities and neighbourhood associations running from 2018 in two stages.
The activities were designed by the participants with peer-to-peer learning, here are some examples:
“– Intergenerational correspondence. Pensioners and schoolchildren wrote letters to each other, telling about their lives. Group members realised that the joys and sorrows of children and adolescents have been similar over the decades.
– Book on the home region. Local stories were explored, recorded and illustrated in a book.
– Treasure hunt. The group encouraged participants of various ages to preserve history and cultural heritage through practical field work. The group used a metal detector and found a Viking Age burial ground.
– Traditional baking. Baking is very popular, and the groups get to know traditional dishes and how to follow a healthy diet.
– Handicrafts. Finnish children’s handicraft skills have declined markedly in recent years. The groups learn for example how to knit socks or make traditional Finnish lace.
– Excursions in the home region. Jointly planned trips to explore e.g., lake nature, water ecology and sites of local historical significance.
– Winter fishing. Many Finnish traditions well-known among the older generation are being lost. Fishing nets can be used even in winter under the ice. In the group, senior citizens teach the young how to fish in winter and prepare the fish. Climate change threatens the future of winter fishing, as winters are getting warmer in Finland and in many cases, the period of safe, sufficiently thick ice on lakes is shorter than before.
– Environmental painting. The neighbourhood is made more pleasant by painting concrete walls or illustrating switchboard cabinets with local stories, in cooperation with building owners and the local electricity company.
– eMuseum trail. The local stories and history of buildings is explored and compiled into a digital tour open for all on a web platform, a so-called eMuseum trail.”
The activities were welcomed by all age groups and promoted innovative ways for intergenerational exchange and sharing of intangible heritage. Strengthening community identity at the local level and knowledge of heritage. Furthermore, the project reduced biases between generations and helped the integration of immigrant children. The model is easily applicable to other countries strengthening the transference of intangible heritage skills and the community.
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