Visit almost any countryside property or heritage site and you will have come across some way of telling that place’s story to visitors and local communities. Interpretation panels, welcome leaflets and self-guided trails are now common in today’s British countryside.
Heritage interpretation is the way property managers explain the nature, origin and use of their natural, cultural or historical sites and objects. Interpretation goes beyond the dry communication of information, using creative techniques borrowed from journalism and communications theory to engage people about the place they are visiting or the object they are looking at.
Freeman Tilden, of the US National Park Service, published the first principles of heritage interpretation in the 1950s. He summed up interpretation as ‘Through interpretation, understanding; through understanding, appreciation; through appreciation, protection,’ Interpreting Our Heritage, 1957. He outlined six principles on which much of today’s interpretation is still based. You can read them on Wikipedia1.
The best interpretation is produced based on a good interpretive plan, which outlines aims and objectives (intellectual, behavioural and emotional), key messages, target audiences and appropriate media. It is important to get all four elements right to give a good, clear focus to why you are creating interpretation and to avoid trying to either tell everything you know about a site or just end up with a list of rules. Good interpretation welcomes people to a site, evokes a sense of place, and encourages visitors to actively explore the property.
Ways of Interpreting…..
read the full article here:
Dr Bill Bevan, MAHI.
Bill is Secretary of the AHI and runs inHeritage, a heritage interpretation and community heritage service.