The International National Trusts Organisation (INTO)

New faces at the INTO Incubator

BlogsEventsProgrammes October 6, 2021

Growing New Trusts

Last week we brought together 16 new participants for three days of all things National Trust. The 2021 Incubator programme peeled back the layers of what builds a successful, resilient, and vibrant National Trust, looking at models from across the globe.

For this year’s Incubator we welcomed non-members and members, bringing perspectives on raising a trust from the ground-up, through every stage of that experience.

We took a moment to catch up with some of our freshest faces to the programme, the Centre for Historic Houses India (CHH), the Hungarian Garden Heritage Foundation (HGHF), and the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society (NHCS).

Why attend the Incubator?

The Incubator draws on the diversity of the INTO network, to share the basics in best practice for growing National Trusts. Though from different corners of the globe, often the drivers behind the work of heritage organisations are anchored by the same vision, to share our heritage with the people that matter.

Whether that’s for future generations as Jahnel Nisbett, Director of NHCS outlines:

“I consider my work to be extremely important because we are the frontline in ensuring that all generations get to experience the best of what Nevis has to offer. From our potent historical past to our expansive ecosystem and rich tangible and intangible cultural heritage, we work assiduously to preserve these aspects for generations to come”

Or ensuring heritage benefits local communities, and continues to tell important stories as is centre to the mission of CHH India –

“Many historic buildings in India are at risk and many are not adequately utilised to benefit local communities. Our work is important because we really try to make a difference to these communities with the management schemes and programmes we propose. We need to ensure that they are well looked after and generate income to guarantee their existence and to benefit local communities.”
- Dr Esther Schmidt, Founder of CHH India.

In Hungary, Edina Nagy Head of International Relations at the HGHF reminded us just how important the role of a National Trust is when hard times come. Whether that’s ensuring people have access to green space, like Hungary’s magnificent gardens and parks, or raising awareness about what gems lie right on our doorsteps.

Global inspiration

Sharing the same goals often means we are met by similar challenges. More than anything the Incubator is an opportunity to learn from one another, knowing there is no one-size-fits-all approach to heritage management.

For Jahnel in Nevis, it’s the work of a fellow Caribbean island, the National Trust Trinidad and Tobago that ignites inspiration.

Questions about the Incubator programme?

Please check the FAQ on our incubator page, or reach out to us at

Read the FAQ
“The vibrant youth engagement programs that exist there serves as an excellent model that we hope to replicate. Their 'Heritage Keepers' program for example targets children and engages them in such a way that they learn at a young age to enjoy and value their heritage, thus ensuring the longevity of protection and preservation efforts.”

For Dr Schmidt, she’d already noted the differences in approaches from her own experiences visiting National Trust England Wales and Northern Ireland properties like her first, Ham House.

“I intuitively sensed what Franklin Vagnone later described in his Anarchist’s Guide to Historic House Museums – the fact that visitors prefer to wander around on their own and experience the house rather than being exclusively led and told what do look at and think."

When we asked Edina at HGHF what INTO members she found influential, her response was more global:

“In our point of view, your initiative as a whole is truly inspiring. What you have done so far under the aegis of INTO and what you have contributed to – for instance via your TAP-INTO programme- are such practices that we find truly valuable.”
- Edina Nagy, Hungarian Garden Heritage Trust

Want to know more about the INTO Incubator?

The Incubator a programme that supports heritage organisations seeking to make strategic change. The workshop takes learning and inspiration from the successful National Trust model and asks how this can be adapted for international contexts.

Find out more

It is the essence of international networking however that allows us to draw these comparisons. Jahnel in Nevis puts the value of global collaboration succinctly when she says:

“Being part of an international network is critical to an organisation like ours. INTO's network provides essential opportunities to tap into international best practices, expert advice and support, as well as financial assistance. Additionally, through such a network, members are easily able to collaborate to share successes, challenges and opportunities which eliminates the need to reinvent the wheel.”

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