I outed myself at work this week when I declared that I actually don’t want any interpretation at a lot of the National Trust-style country estates. We were talking about places that have no other story than one family’s wealth and privilege. The new-ish trend has been for a few years now to explore the … Continue reading Interpreting Country Estates: Somewhere between heritage and aesthetic
I recently read about someone saying that heritage managers and interpreters were ‘selling’ experiences. I’ve already written in a recent blog post how ‘experience’ seems to have been a popular concept for a while now. In fact, even I was raving when the National Trust first changed all interpretation and visitor related job titles, along … Continue reading Selling Experiences?
A couple of weekends ago, I visited Hughenden Manor, managed by the National Trust. I joined a guided tour on World War II, when the house had served as a base for map makers. The tour guide, a lovely and otherwise very welcoming lady, kept using ‘we’ as she spoke about Hughenden’s history during the … Continue reading Us and Them at Hughenden Manor
Next week sees the For Them and By Them: Involving Stakeholders and Communities in Interpretation conference take place, which I initiated. I am no longer able to be at the conference myself, so I thought I’d share here what I was going to talk about there . It is really quite astonishing to see just … Continue reading Involving stakeholders in interpretation, Or: policy aspiration and practice challenges
I am indebted to the Association for Heritage Interpretation (UK) for publishing a news item that highlighted the National Trust’s ‘Bench mate’ scheme and a commentary on it in a national newspaper. The latter is particularly refreshing as the voice of someone whose profession is not interpretation. The commentator, a comedian, I’m told, makes a … Continue reading Interpretation…doesn’t trust visitors to have their own thoughts?
I love National Trust properties. I’d forgotten how much until I recently visited Polesden Lacey. So I promptly signed myself up to become a member (again) and I’ve proceeded to visit a National Trust property every weekend since. Of course, I’m also reading a lot of academic literature and case studies about heritage, its management … Continue reading When I recently visited National Trust properties…
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?
This month's Museums Journal (UK) reports on the National Trust's 'Going Local' strategy which gives considerably more management power to local properties, retaining only core functions like financial management, legal services and conservation advice at head office ('National Trust restructure will lead to redundancies', by Gary Noakes, p. 5). The rationale behind the decision is … Continue reading Trust the properties’ wisdom