This year we celebrated the centenary of Octavia Hill, one of the founders of the National Trust in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Whilst this organisation, established in 1895, was certainly the first ‘National Trust’ it was also part of a wider conservation movement that was burgeoning both in Europe (the Society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments was founded in Norway in 1844) and the USA (the Trustees of Reservations in Massachusetts began in 1891).
The essence of the concept was private responsibility (‘trust’) for the public good (‘national’) and today we see National Trusts (or like organisations with varying names) in over seventy nations, many of which are
custodians of heritage places and manage heritage projects, all in the public interest. Hill and her colleagues spent years perfecting a constitutional model that would allow the National Trust to protect sites of historic interest and natural beauty for ever, for everyone. This was primarily achieved through ownership, but these days National Trusts are increasingly looking to advocacy, education, involvement and partnership as additional ways
of achieving their aims.
INTO is able to offer strategies that support these approaches and our expertise is often called upon to advise on the establishment of new heritage trusts, to develop skills within existing organisations and to inform the global heritage debate. As an example, our case studies provided an important dimension to the Asia-Europe Culture Ministers’ Meeting in Indonesia and we also addressed the preceding Experts’ Meeting in Yogyakarta.
Another important initiative INTO embarked upon this year is the establishment of the ‘Global Heritage Forum’, in partnership with The Best in Heritage and Europa Nostra. The aim of the Forum is to develop a global agenda for heritage – an ambitious objective, but one which INTO will meet head on in 2013!
Our Executive Committee meeting in Washington in October gave us the opportunity not only for important strategic discussions but also to share experience with our US colleagues and supporters.
Finally, we were delighted this year to lead, with the generous support of Rodney Davidson AO, OBE, the establishment of the INTO Foundation, to enable us to continue our important work.
We ended 2012 with 55 members.