There is a tradition within interpretation that identifies having ‘love’  or ‘passion’  for heritage and/or for people as a desirable, if not necessary quality in interpreters. This goes beyond just a lively, engaging delivery. It is to genuinely ‘love the thing you interpret’, as well as the people who visit it . For … Continue reading Not Love, Not Passion: Interpretation as a job
A few years ago, I visited Stonehenge for the first time. Like many others, I was shocked at the (then) lack of interpretation and facilities, and after circling the stones once (also an oddly disappointing experience), I set off with the dog to go on a hike through the landscape, totally unplanned, merely drifting along … Continue reading Re-visiting Stonehenge, Or: Visitor Management Vs Experience
In one of my jobs, emails from our security guards about incidents were a regular occurrence, usually involving large groups of youngsters trespassing and getting drunk. One day, I was feeling rather depressed about this and I told my friend, ‘I feel I need to be a social worker in this job, not a heritage … Continue reading Heritage Managers: Addressing poverty, social justice, literacy, numeracy, citizenship…
Last week I left my job as Audience Development Manager for St Albans Museums Service to join Jura Consultants as a Senior Consultant. The change has prompted a few reflections, not the least around what it means to me to go from being a site-based member of staff to becoming a consultant. There are a … Continue reading Taking stock on leaving St Albans, or: From Site Staff to Consultant
Let me start with a disclaimer: I’m not actually going to tell you what makes interpretation effective. Rather, I would like to propose that we rethink some of the measures we use for determining ‘effectiveness’. Take for example an article by Henker and Brown that was published in the Journal for Interpretation Research earlier this … Continue reading What makes interpretation effective?
Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of hearing Paul Drury speak on ‘Sustaining Cultural Heritage Values in Changing Environments’ at University College London. Paul spent a great deal of time talking about the heritage values that people associate with sites. These, he argued, should form the basis of any management decision about a site … Continue reading Sustaining Our Heritage – Paul Drury and English Heritage’s Conservation Principles
Today I attended a conference titled, ‘The Role of Interpretation in Tourism’. As may be expected, none of the speakers questioned that interpretation was an intrinsic part of any tourism effort. This is not a given however: at a conference a few months ago, the host country’s Director of Tourism unblushingly claimed that interpretation had … Continue reading Interpretation…or Visitor Experience?
Two weeks ago I presented a paper on stakeholders to the online conference of Interpretation Canada. I shared with delegates how I go about trying to understand the main stakeholders of a project. Step 1: Who are the main stakeholders? My first step is to identify who the main stakeholders are to begin with. I … Continue reading Understanding stakeholders (and their view of significance)
I recently had a very interesting chat with a colleague who is working on educational programmes. They covered a whole range of topics that may be of interest to teachers and so encourage them to bring pupils on site. I admired their ideas for a broad variety of possible projects, and yet one thing remained … Continue reading Beware the generic, or: That’s what significance assessments are for
After reading this month's Museum Journal (published by the British Museums Association) one may well wonder if today's leaders really no longer value heritage. Stories of funding cuts have dominated both British and international coverage for months and we now read about the consequences of budgets thus slashed. Winter opening hours are shortened, as with … Continue reading Who needs heritage anyway?