Heritage Interpretation Planning


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On the strategies used to plan an interpretive program. Includes work by Hems & Blockley and Howard as well as the interpretive planning system developed in class by the College of Charleston's Senior Seminar on heritage interpretation. Some information is particular to our class project.

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  • The problem with this process is that it is not focused on the most important aspect; Why?

    If you have no clear understanding of what the interpretation is supposed to accomplish from the outset, it is unlikely that the final outputs will be successful!

    The two big questions you ask at the beginning of any interpretive planning process is; 'Why does the visitor need to know this?' and 'What do we want the visitor to do with the information if we give it to them?' Without the answers to these critical questions any interpretive project is a non-starter.
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Heritage Interpretation Planning

  1. 1. Interpretive Planning Presentation by Prof. Jennifer McStotts College of Charleston
  2. 2. Definition of Interpretation <ul><li>“ My own working definition of interpretation is a process that adds value to the experience of place.” - Goodey P23 </li></ul><ul><li>“ It is a communication process that seeks not simply to inform, but also to provoke a reaction. It has been defined as the art of explaining the significance of a site to the people who visit, with a view to pointing a conservation message.” - Tabraham P59 </li></ul>
  3. 3. Definition of Interpretation <ul><li>“ It is the role of the interpreter to identify and to engender cognitive conflicts in understanding the past through the tools of concrete experience of the historic site providing the opportunities for collaborative discourse and allowing reflection.” - Copeland P84 </li></ul><ul><li>Interpretation is “deciding what to say about the heritage, and how, and to whom, to say it.” - Howard P244 </li></ul>
  4. 4. Definition of Interpretation <ul><li>“ Interpretation is all about exploring the meanings of places and collections with people, whether it be a landscape, building, object or idea. It strives to help people find their own meaning and values and make sense of the world around them.” - Taylor P102 </li></ul>
  5. 5. Tabraham P60 <ul><li>Interpretive planning is a thought process through which we establish: </li></ul><ul><li>What we wish to interpret, and why; </li></ul><ul><li>How we wish to interpret, and where; </li></ul><ul><li>Who we wish to communicate with; </li></ul><ul><li>What resources we need to achieve our aim. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Tabraham’s Description of Scottish Interpretive Planning <ul><li>Part 1 - Know your: </li></ul><ul><li>Property </li></ul><ul><li>Public </li></ul><ul><li>Price </li></ul><ul><li>Part 2 - Describe the potential for interpretation - “identifies and addresses core issues, highlights constraints and proposes possibilities” </li></ul>
  7. 7. Tabraham’s Description of Scottish Plan Implementation <ul><li>Researching the subject </li></ul><ul><li>Communicating the message </li></ul><ul><li>Selecting the media </li></ul><ul><li>Catering for disabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Catering for children </li></ul><ul><li>Catering for other languages </li></ul><ul><li>Respecting the site </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Its fabric, surfaces and setting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reversible installation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Evaluating the interpretation </li></ul>
  8. 8. What should our method be?
  9. 9. In Class Exercise Result
  10. 10. Interpretive Strategy Project <ul><li>Identify definition of interpretation </li></ul><ul><li>Identify management and interpretive objectives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mgmt = operational </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interp = Learning, emotional, behavioral; what visitors should know, feel or do as a result of the experience </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Identify process for planning and apply it. It must: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify message </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify audience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify medium </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clearly define final product, including how you will turn it in electronically and showcase it in class. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Prof. McS’ Method - Not the “Right” Way!
  12. 12. All references from: Hems & Blockley’s Heritage Interpretation [2006], except Howard’s Heritage: Management, Interpretation, Identity [2003]