HiTAC – Documentation of Historical Techniques in Arts and Crafts

ERASMUS intensive programme

When the first museum for ethnology was founded in 1873, in Sweden, the main reason was that folk-culture (including architecture and other aspects of material culture) was seen to be “eroding under the influence of industrialisation, migration and other processes of modernity” (Artur Hazelius). Outdoor museums followed soon after and became very popular.
The new idea of outdoor museums was to exhibit peasant culture in their entire setting, their ‘natural context’.

Whole buildings and households were transferred and collected at the museum sites. Houses were only ‘decorated’ with objects on the first hand. In the last decades life was given to the museums by performances of (historically) usual crafts, farming and household work.Luckily today there are some craftsmen or workers left that learned their profession before the industrial development changed all fields of production.

But the number of persons is small and we are about to loose these last witness. Some knowledge of a manufacturing technology can be essential for the positive outcome of the work: a little detail, a trick or a certain movement with a tool that decides upon the result, production secrets only because they are not documented. Therefore the production process can be seen as intangible cultural heritage.
The theme of the proposed IP gives an excellent possibility to document the momentarily still available knowledge. Experimental reconstruction of techniques, together with the last practitioners, will be documented in detail by the video camera and by interviews. The resulting material shall serve as a basis for teaching conservators and can be used by the open-air museum. (Source)


Besides the conservation students from the partner institutions this IP is targeting at all professions at museums that deal with objects of every day live, folk art and proto-industrial home industry: ethnologists and historians of all related fields.

  • For conservators it is important to know about the production process of the objects they have to restore.
  • For museums it is important to have this knowledge to understand function and meaning of an object, so it can be integrated in the didactical concept of the collection or can be researched.

Project coordinator: Heikki Häyhä,  Metropolia University of Applied Sciences