Preserving and operating industrial heritage sites requires a wide range of knowledge and skills. Industrial Heritage is more than just industrial buildings and machinery, that is, the “tangible” remnants of industry. It also includes the complex knowledge of running and maintaining machines, of numerous techniques and skills as well as of sector-specific social routines and intangible heritage.

But this knowledge is in danger of being lost over time. Today heritage organisations are increasingly facing the retirement of their first generation professionals and volunteers – staff who experienced at first-hand life within these industrial communities. Against this background effective methods are needed for transferring and sharing knowledge with new staff and volunteers that engage in the field.

ERIH addressed the issue at the 2020 Annual Conference in Oberhausen. Under the theme "Keeping the wheels turning. Making industrial heritage fit for generational change", the conference presented practical examples of preserving and passing on the knowledge of first-generation employees from different countries. It was also a platform for the exchange and critical debate of experiences in the field of knowledge transfer and succession planning. You will find a summary of the presentations in our November 2020 newsletter, and the PowerPoint presentations in our service section.

ERIH Newsletter November 2020
Conference presentations

In 2021, we also conducted a survey among ERIH members to get a more detailed overview of where the pressing issues are on the ground and which topics are particularly relevant.

Results of the survey (brief description) 
Results of the survey (detailed description)

After that, it is planned to develop ideas for concrete projects and measures (such as documentation of best practice examples) together with the sites as an aid for other industrial heritage sites.