HERITY (from HERITAGE + QUALITY) is the International Organization for Quality Management of Cultural Heritage. Beginning in 1994, HERITY has been testing its principles up until 1998 when they were adopted. Only after some years, in 2002, was it decided that the moment had arrived to codify this know-how by setting criteria, parameters, prerequisites and indicators. At that time, HERITY also developed instruments for its mission: to inform the public on the state-of-the-art of a site, a museum, monument, library or archive with regard to its perceived Value, Conservation status, Communication capabilities and Services, at the same time assisting those responsible to better manage the assets they are in charge of. Then the results from the field-work were analyzed and the process was codified. At that point it was possible also to design a training strategy.
Today, HERITY is working in several places, particularly in Italy which was the first Pilot Country in 2004 to experiment the HGES (HERITY Global Evaluation System). The main set of questions and problems to be answered came from the observation of visitor behaviour in Rome, as an example of an Art City characterized by cultural vestiges and activities as well as by significant tourism pressure. At present, the HERITY system makes it possible for cultural assetsall over the world to be certified.
In fact, the HGES allows specialists to better understand the variables which influence the three key-questions they normally have to face:
- Avoiding low visitor numbers at Cultural Heritage sites;
- Reducing the impact;
- Managing the balance.