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September 19-21, 2012
Seixal, Portugal

From September 19-21, 2012, I had the exciting opportunity to participate in the 1st International Conference on Ecomuseums, Community Museums and Living Communities in Seixal, Portugal, a town located on the southern bank of the river Tejo, across from the capital city of Lisbon. The event brought together museum and heritage practitioners from around the world to take stock of the ecomuseums movement since its advent in France in the 1960s, and to gauge new directions and possibilities for its future. Hughes de Varine, who is credited with coining the term “ecomusée” in 1971, gave the keynote speech for the conference, in which he reviewed the core tenets of the ecomuseology movement. At its heart, the ecomuseum is about community participation in the management and interpretation of local heritage for the purpose of community development[1].