Heritage Days allow to make available the cultural heritage to the greatest number of people. Admission charges are generally less expensive or even free and this is a unique opportunity to discover places that are usually closed to the public.
These places are either places belonging to the state, either private places. Some are in very good condition, while others are ruins or monuments requiring urgent renovation.
The aim of these days is to discover known and lesser-known monuments, private or not. Generally, the admission fees are not always available, especially for large families or for those with limited financial means. In this case, the entry price is limited or even free.
However, budgets related to culture and historical monuments restorations are shrinking year by year. Why should entrance fees be free? On the one hand, this is a unique opportunity for some people with limited incomes to visit heritage sites, on the other hand, some chateaux owners need revenue related to entrances to restore their homes. Should we make a distinction between private and public monuments? Is it not a duty of states to make available culture to the greatest number, at least during one weekend? A massive influx of visitors in a monument allows the owner to increase revenue and therefore its renovation. Moreover, free or low entrance fee would allow more people to come. Is it better to have a large number of visitors paying a smaller amount of money or less visitors paying a little more? Many visitors visiting the monument will talk more and thus more strongly activate word-of-mouth. Word-of-mouth is the most effective marketing strategy. Concerning the places that are only open during the heritage days, would it not be the only time to raise money to maintain the monument. In this case, word-of-mouth is not needed since the place is closed anyway the other days of the year (with exceptions).
Free entry in the public monuments and limited prices or full fares in private buildings? Public places do not also need additional funds?
The debate is open …
In France, a family of young chateaux owners see themselves as “Frondeurs du patrimoine“, among other things because the theme of the French heritage days (in 2015) is the heritage of the XXI century while the day is historically devoted to the historical and not the future heritage. Can we assimilate historical heritage and contemporary creation? Cultural heritage also lives now but we need to understand the history to create the future. The Heritage of the twenty-first century is interesting but it costs much less to maintain (often not yet restoration to do), should devote the same weekend for it than for the historical heritage? Are they competing? There is a link between history and the present or even the future, the idea of gathering is interesting but should we not keep a weekend dedicated specifically to the historical heritage?
Furthermore, the slingers propose that days of Heritage become days for Heritage. This designation emphasizes the importance of helping to revive the historical heritage. According to them, if each person in France pays € 1 during these days, the budget allocated to the restoration of private historic monuments in France would be doubled. Think about it….
Whether you love or the historical heritage or those of the 21st century, we can only encourage you to discover places that are never open to the public and enjoy the rest of the year to discover or rediscover historical places full of history. A visit to a castle, in addition to a cultural discovery, is a way to show our support to the restoration of these places.
So, regardless of the country in which you live, take advantage of these days (the dates are easily accessible on the internet) to make a very pleasant discovery.