ⓘ Heritage interpretation refers to all the ways in which information is communicated to visitors to an educational, natural or recreational site, such as a museu ..


ⓘ Heritage interpretation

Heritage interpretation refers to all the ways in which information is communicated to visitors to an educational, natural or recreational site, such as a museum, park or science centre. More specifically it is the communication of information about, or the explanation of, the nature, origin, and purpose of historical, natural, or cultural resources, objects, sites and phenomena using personal or non-personal methods. Some international authorities in museology prefer the term mediation for the same concept, following usage in other European languages.

Heritage interpretation may be performed at dedicated interpretation centres or at museums, historic sites, parks, art galleries, nature centres, zoos, aquaria, botanical gardens, nature reserves and a host of other heritage sites. Its modalities can be extremely varied and may include guided walks, talks, drama, staffed stations, displays, signs, labels, artwork, brochures, interactives, audio-guides and audio-visual media. The process of developing a structured approach to interpreting these stories, messages and information is called interpretive planning. The thematic approach to heritage interpretation advocated by University of Idaho professor Sam Ham, the National Association for Interpretation, the US National Park Service, and others, is considered best practice.

Those who practice this form of interpretation may include rangers, guides, naturalists, actors who may wear period dress and do reenactments, museum curators, natural and cultural interpretive specialists, interpretation officers, heritage communicators, docents, educators, visitor services staff, interpreters or a host of other titles. The interpretive process is often assisted by new technologies such as visualizing techniques.


1. Purpose

The goal of interpretation is to improve and enrich the visitor experience by helping site visitors understand the significance of the place they are visiting, and connecting those meanings to visitors own personal lives. By weaving compelling, thematic stories about environmental phenomena and historical events, interpreters aim to provoke visitors to learn and think about their experiences. Effective interpretation enables the visitors to make associations between the information given and their previous perceptions. According to Moscardo interpretation can produce Mindful Visitors who are carefully processing information and negotiating the meanings of the observed object or intangible element.

Interpretation is often used by landowning government agencies and NGOs to promote environmental stewardship of the lands they manage.


2. Definitions of heritage interpretation

Heritage interpretation is an educational activity which aims to reveal meanings and relationships through the use of original objects, by firsthand experience, and by illustrative media, rather than simply to communicate factual information.

Any communication process designed to reveal meanings and relationships of cultural and natural heritage to the public, through first-hand involvement with an object, artifact, landscape or site.

Interpretation is a mission-based communication process that forges emotional and intellectual connections between the interests of the audience and the meanings inherent in the resource.

Interpretation enriches our lives through engaging emotions, enhancing experiences and deepening understanding of people, places, events and objects from past and present.

Interpretation refers to the full range of potential activities intended to heighten public awareness and enhance understanding of. These can include print and electronic publications, public lectures, on-site and directly related off-site installations, educational programs, community activities, and ongoing research, training, and evaluation of the interpretation process itself.

Mediation is the translation of the French mediation, which has the same general museum meaning as interpretation. Mediation is defined as an action aimed at reconciling parties or bringing them to agreement. In the context of the museum, it is the mediation between the museum public and what the museum gives its public to see.

  • Association for Heritage Interpretation AHI is a membership based organisation for people actively involved or concerned with heritage interpretation AHI began
  • institution for dissemination of knowledge of natural or cultural heritage Interpretation centres are a kind of new - style museum, often associated with visitor
  • The Moli d en Rata Heritage Interpretation Centre Catalan: Centre d Interpretacio del Patrimoni Moli d en Rata in Ripollet Valles Occidental is
  • Dramatic Interpretation an event in speech and forensics competitions in which participants perform excerpts from plays Heritage interpretation communication
  • Thematic interpretation is an approach to heritage interpretation originally advocated by Professor William J. Lewis University of Vermont and subsequently
  • Interpret Europe European Association for Heritage Interpretation is an international membership - based association with charitable status that serves
  • Belize v Belize Telecom Ltd Interpretation canon law Heritage interpretation - Tilden s principles of interpretation Interpretive planning, an initial
  • Nottingham Transport Heritage Centre Rhondda Heritage Park Royal Canadian Mounted Police Heritage Centre Heritage interpretation Interpretation centre List of
  • Journal of Interpretation Research is a biannual peer - reviewed academic journal covering research and discourse in the field of heritage interpretation and environmental
  • of the Council of Europe Heritage interpretation List of heritage railways World Heritage Site Genealogy tourism Heritage Tourism National Trust for