When people think of heritage, many may picture a certain place that represents the heritage of an environment. For example, when thinking about French heritage you may think of the Eiffel tower or for British heritage you may think of Big Ben or the Stonehenge. However, heritage can be many things; both tangible and intangible. It can be a building, a monument, a natural site, a recipe, a tradition, a culture, a personal item, or possibly something else. When thinking about heritage you have to take into consideration the personal value that can be held within an object or place. The reason for this is that heritage is not just a place, it is also an identity of every individual person.
Every person can have a different perspective of their heritage. Heritage can be seen as a person’s ethnic background, nationality, economic background, or religion. At the Stonehenge in Great Britain, you as a tourist may see the Stonehenge as just a circle of large ancient rocks that represent British heritage. However, in order to get the deeper meaning, you have to look and see what the heritage site actually means to the local people who actually see this site as part of their heritage.
For example, the Druids see this site as a ritualistic site for them to practice what they believe in. For some festival goers, they see this place as a symbolic park to hold local festivities that represent their lives in Great Britain. A heritage site can have many meanings since it all depends of the view of an individual person. To an outsider, it is just one thing. To a local, it can represent so many things beyond what you can visually see.
On the other hand, the representation of heritage is not always clear or 100% authentic. For example, the local people of Hannibal Missouri do not show an authentic heritage of Mark Twain. This town gets hundreds of people coming to visit expecting to see the heritage around the much-loved Mark Twain. Instead, tourists get to see a fantasy brought to life. The town of Hannibal had built many objects and buildings that were only portrayed in the famous book “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” so instead of seeing authentic history, they are only seeing the life of a fictional character. However, even if this portrayal of Mark Twain’s book is not considered heritage to us, to the locals this is part of their heritage. This fact just proves that heritage depends of the individual because of the so many varying view points.
So in all, heritage can represent multiple things and multiple things can represent a heritage. It all depends of how you individually put things into perspective. To you, the Stonehenge may represent a heritage. To someone else, it may just be a circle of rocks.