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Inclusion of local businesses and institutions

Wednesday, 10 October, 2012 to Saturday, 10 October, 2015
Organised by: 
Marc van Hasselt
Number of Participants / Visitors / Audience: 

As part of the activities within WP3, Dialogue with the Visitor, AOAM often work closely with local businesses, institutions and organisations. In this article we present some concrete examples of how to improve the visitor experience, how to add content and activities to public events and how to strengthen your brand.

OpenArch conference lectures, April 2013
During the OpenArch conference, Archeon invited speakers from the business, game design and leisure worlds, to look at best practices in these sectors.

  • Paul Stork: Websites and the Dialogue with the visitor: case studies of various museums
  • Don Blauuw: A playful dialogue with the mobile visitor
  • Hanne Marckmann: The playful dialogue
  • Janneke Kuysters: Economic and social relevance of heritage sites
  • Peter Jongste: Involving the visitor in the reconstruction of a Bronze Age farmhouse

Culinary events, 2011-2015
Archeon has organised culinary events for about 20 years. Since 2013 Pierre Wind, a famous Dutch chef, was involved in the organisation of the event. As part of the new initiatives developed in 2013-2015, local businesses were invited to present their products during the Archeon culinary weekend. In 2013, during the OpenArch conference, activities on food were organised by the WP4 coordinators. Using these experiences, the culinary events in 2013, 2014 and 2015 were expanded and improved.

Also, in 2015 local businesses competed for an award as 'Green Heart product of the year'. This promises to be a yearly part of the event. In 2015, St. Fagans' Event Manager Bernice Parker attended the event as part of a Staff Exchange. By sharing experiences on organizing such events in both Wales and the Netherlands, both sites should be able to further expand and improve their respective Dialogue with the Visitor. By placing local activities and products in a European context, the experience is made noticably broader and stronger.

Through the promotion of local produce and local businesses, Archeon strives to increase awareness of the importance of ecologically responsible consumption and production. The Green Heart product of the year, selected by a jury including Mr. Wind, was beef made from milk cows, something not commonly done. It was an ecologically produced, locally sourced product, indicating the importance of these products for the local environment. By placing it in the historical context of an AOAM, it is possible to make people aware that for a large part of our common, European history, these products were the mainstay of peoples' diets.

Employing self-employed staff
AOAM traditionally work with a small staff of contracted employees. The main body of interpreters is often taken from a pool of volunteers, supported by paid staff. It can be quite economically and organisationally efficient to employ staff that is self-employed. Either for projects with a specific timeframe, or on a call basis, for busy days or planned shows. And self-employed staff can be used for additional projects as well. By stimulating staff to consider being self-employed and discussing the possibilities in a frank manner, it is possible to grow local business opportunities and be at the center of an expanding network of businesses enthusiastic about AOAM and your particular brand.

Below is a list of ways Archeon has used self-employed staff in the past:

  • Live interpretation
  • (Fight) shows, theatre productions
  • Guided tours
  • Lectures
  • General project management
  • Event management
  • Creating audiotours
  • Marketing
  • Social Media management
  • Signage and printwork used on-site

Working with local business associations
Archeon works closely with the local business association (Vereniging Ondernemers Alpen - VOA). Meetings of this association are often held on the site, where members are invited to network and mingle. Archeon often employs the entrepeneurs who are members, for such things as PR projects, change management or assessments. Since the start of the OpenArch project, international business practices have inspired Archeon to work with the VOA on the matter of start-ups. Archeon management has given clinics and inspired new start-ups, both from their own staff and through the larger network of the VOA.

The conclusion must be that working with local business associations is essential for AOAM, an experience that has been shared with the partners, especially during the WP3 conference in april 2013.


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