What is Experiential Interpretation?

In the spring of 2020, I will be offering a two-day workshop in Experiential Interpretation. Thinking ahead to the course, I’ve been spending a fair bit of time researching and pondering what that actually means. Interpretation is experiential when the interpreter uses a recognizable activity as the structure of the program, and imposes passive listening on the audience less than 10% of the time. It […]

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Where is your strategic iconic photography?

Part of the work I do in visitor experience planning involves defining essence of place—those heritage values, tangible and intangible, that define your site. It’s a fun exercise but it can be a little bit abstract at first: what exactly is a tangible heritage value, anyway? A great place to start is simply by asking workshop participants to find six iconic images of their heritage […]

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klondike

There are no meanings inherent in your resource.

Which is not to suggest that your resource is without meaning. I’ve been spending a lot of time lately putting together basic training for interpreters, and one of the first things we always try to do is define exactly what our profession is. You’d think that’d be easy; it ain’t. Every time I try to define interpretation, I come away less convinced than ever that […]

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southern sky

Who is the audience for your interpretive plan?

A lifetime ago when I studied playwriting, there was a concept that has stuck with me ever since: “point of departure.” In a story, there is a journey along a dramatic arc that is launched when the protagonist is faced with some kind of challenge, after which their life will never be the same. The point of departure is the moment in the character’s life […]

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statue and eiffel tower

The Power of the Creative Brief

Think of it as a one-page interpretive plan. Writing a plan is tough work, and writing an interpretation plan is one of the more daunting tasks many of us in the nature-heritage sector face. So daunting, in fact, that many of us would rather chew off an arm than set aside time in our busy weeks to work on any kind of long-term strategy. Recently, I’ve started […]

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woman in traditional dress, Kota Kinabalu

Spray and Pray: The Fear of Excluding A Market

The point of market segmentation is not to make visitors unwelcome; it is the opposite. This article is part of a series, Understanding Our Audiences, on market segmentation for interpretive planners and other visitor experience professionals. You should probably start at the beginning, here.  Managers and boards of directors are sometimes reluctant to focus their investments in a handful of target markets (some businesses focus […]

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