Transnational Heritage Storytelling at the Manor of Sztynort/ Steinort

Exhibition (Research, Design, Production) in Sztynort, Poland 2017: Chronicler of our Dreams – The Manor of Sztynort 1947-2017


The exhibition project “Chronicler of our Dreams. The Manor of Sztynort 1947-2017” and the related cultural initiative are part of a FairerTales research project and a collaboration with the Technical University of Dresden. Based on oral history interviews, participants observation, and archival research, the exhibition presents visitors with the socialist and post-socialist history of the manor. It invites them to view the heritage-site-in-the-making and place of speculative investment in a different light. The Socialist and post-socialist histories of manor buildings are often neglected stories, they are seen as less prestigious than the gentrified, aristocratic past of manor buildings. And yet – they equally involve people’s lives and their biographies. They tell about alternative visions of what purposes palaces could have. This why it was important to us to tell this story. Future exhibitions about other layers of history of the manor are in the planning stage.

Cultural Initiative Stn:ort

The cultural initiative Stn:ort pursues the immediate activation of the manor as a space for cultural and social encounters in its present, dilapidated state. We believe that the space, in its vulnerable, weathered state is a beautiful setting for creative, experimental encounters and community participation. We organise creative interventions such as our creative week in August 2017: in that week we engaged visitors of the manor in making “Dreamcatchers for the awakening manor”, creating a big installation of all of them (over 80) in the foyer of the manor of Sztynort. The creative week also included cooking a stew according to the original recipe by the head chef of the socialist holiday cantina in the manor, and re-performing the holiday colony morning roll call routine and opposing it with a yoga routine.


The FairerTales activities in Sztynort are part of an engaged ethnographic long-term study about transforming tourism and heritage landscapes in the Masurian Lakes District that Hannah Wadle has been conducting since 2009. Her publication about the subject concern processes of transnational heritage making, the encounter with social inequality, and the negotiation of competing visions of tourism development in the area. Here is a selection of publications.

H. Wadle (forthcoming 2018) Pałac-in-progress. Re-imagining Landed Estates in Post-East-Prussian, Post-Socialist Tourism Landscapes of Northeast Poland. In: Tourism and Architecture: Fictions, Virtualities, Simulacras. Ed. by Maria Gavari-Barbas, Nelson Graburn, Francois Staszak

Schabe, P. and H. Wadle (2017) Schloss Steinort (Sztynort). Geschichte und Erhaltung. (The manor of Steinort (Sztynort) History and Preservation). Festschrift der Deutsch-Polnischen Stiftung für Kulturpflege und Denkmalschutz. Ed. by Peter Schabe and Guido Hinterhäuser, pp. 153-185.

H. Wadle (2016) Encountering Tourism in the Masurian Lake District: Locating the Moral Self in the New Rural Poland. In: Journal for Tourism and Cultural Change, Special Issue: “Tourism in Postsocialist Central and Eastern Europe”. Ed. by Magdalena Banaszkiewicz and Nelson Graburn.

Verschaeve, M. and H. Wadle (2014) Tourism and Post-Socialist Heterotopias: Eastern Europe as an Imagined Rural Past. In: Tourism and the Power of Otherness. Seductions of Difference. Ed. by David Picard and Michael Di Giovine, pp. 74-94.

H. Wadle (2012) From fragments of place intimacy towards a concept of performative German-Polish Cultural Heritage. Ethnographic Close-ups of the manor of Sztynort/Steinort [orig.: Von Fragmenten der Ortsintimität zu einem Konzept des performativen deutsch-polnischen Kulturerbes. Ethnographische Nahaufnahmen von Schloss Sztynort/Steinort]. In: Deutsch-Polnisches Kulturerbe und die Zivilgesellschaft im heutigen Polen. Ed. by Paul Zalewski and Joanna Drejer, pp. 142-159.


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