A few days ago I had the chance to visit Titanic Belfast. It was a good opportunity to think about the theatricality in our presentations of heritage, or the production of an experience, especially after my last post and my post of a year ago about re-visiting Stonehenge. Titanic Belfast was definitely a site … Continue reading The Theatricality of Heritage: Thoughts on Visiting Titanic Belfast
A couple of weeks back I visited the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Historic Art) in Vienna. Interpretation of art is not my specialism, and I’m always intrigued by what art museums do. You get anything from, well, nothing, to rather tediously specific texts that try to explain every dot of paint on the canvas. Sometimes … Continue reading Interpreting Art: Musings on visiting Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum
I really took note of the design of many of the exhibitions I saw when I was recently in Poland . There was change of pace, drama, art, and, from my German point of view, a startling lack of inhibition about using Nazi symbols to create experiences . This was probably most evident at Schindler’s … Continue reading True immersion, over-engineering, or lack of empathy? The exhibition at Schindler’s Factory
A couple of weeks ago, the German Museums Association (Deutscher Museumsbund) published recommendations for museums on how to include and represent migration and cultural diversity in their work. I was really impressed by two key concepts that frame the entire document: Migration is the Norm This is a fact that is evident when we burst … Continue reading The German MA’s Recommendations for Representing Migration
A few months ago, I came across the Secret Annex Online on the Anne Frank House website. It has all the ingredients of great interpretation: it tells a story using different media, there is a hierarchy of information that you can access depending on your interests, and you can quite literally choose where to go … Continue reading Online Interpretation: A Great Example
Last week, three high court judges dismissed an application for judicial review and thus paved the way for Richard III’s remains to be buried at Leicester Cathedral. There are three key things that strike me about this whole process. The Authorized Heritage Discourse at work The basis for the applicant’s claim (that they are relatives … Continue reading Richard III Revisited, or: Is this the heritage industry?
I’ve recently read English Heritage’s consultation on under-represented heritages  and it got me thinking, yet again, about target audiences. Here are some of the points that struck a chord with me: We don’t want [insert under-represented heritage here] sites In fact, one respondent called this idea ‘horrible’ (p. 10). In other words, they didn’t … Continue reading Are we inclusively excluding people from museums and heritage sites?
After a few weeks off for illness, today I took the opportunity and left the house for a visit to Llancaiach Fawr, a historic mansion in South Wales. I’d heard much about the place: at a conference a few months ago it was hailed as a site exemplary of visitor-focused interpretation, and a colleague’s enthusiastic … Continue reading Llancaiach Fawr: The pitfalls of first person interpretation
A couple of weeks ago I visited the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, Wales. The museum’s focus is on the industrial history of wales, and object cases alternate with high-tech interactives. I’m not personally a huge fan of interactives. The reason is that I have not seen many interactives that I feel were necessary and … Continue reading A case of too many interactives?
Now here's an oxymoron in most interpreters' view: how can any panel that reads like 'a book on the wall' ever be good? And of course these interpreters are right in pointing out that rows upon rows of text are highly unlikely to be read and they will probably fail to get a memorable and … Continue reading A good book on the wall?