Once the Herculaneum Conservation Project team had gained experience working on site, they recognized the need for a more inclusive and flexible approach to conservation that goes beyond the borders of the archaeological site. The city council – Comune di Ercolano – invited the Herculaneum Conservation Project to launch one such initiative: a new centre for professional, cultural and community activities related to Herculaneum’s heritage in a joint venture with the Soprintendenza Speciale di Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei and the British School at Rome.
The Herculaneum Centre was launched in 2007 with a mission to become a point of reference for the inclusion of the local and international communities in conserving Herculaneum’s past, by developing partnerships, facilitating physical and intellectual access to the historic environment, and by stimulating responses to Herculaneum’s archaeological and cultural heritage.
Thanks to public funding from the Italian Ministry of Culture to the town council, a launch programme is underway which has focused on mid-career training for heritage practitioners, providing ways of involving the local community and visitors to Ercolano and encouraging new research.
Preparations are now taking place for new programmes that will consolidate existing local and international partnerships and for new community initiatives that will enhance ongoing urban and social renewal. The Herculaneum Centre is working in five key areas: participation, training, research, think tank, access.
The positive repercussions of the activities of the Herculaneum Centre in the local community and in management of the archaeological site are already perceptible. The Herculaneum Conservation Project and its project team continue to work with the Herculaneum Centre in pursuit of this mission.