Shuttered church, Battleford SK

Interpretive Storytelling and the Problem of Appropriation

“Can I tell this story?” As an interpretive planner and writer, I find I’m hearing this question more and more often: how do we Settlers know when a story is appropriate for us to tell? How do we know if we have the right to tell it? When is interpretive storytelling a form of cultural …

3d interpretive sign

Interpretive Signs: Don’t Neglect the Base

If you’re not investing in the 3D elements of your interpretive sign, you’re missing a powerful opportunity to connect people to your message. (Note: the visual examples here are not my work. Click to follow through to the presenting agency.) About ten years ago when I started producing interpretive signs, I gave zero thought to …

Do you need a Visitor Experience Strategy?

About ten years ago, when I was an employee at Parks Canada, we identified a need for more holistic planning. We already had tools such as management plans, marketing plans, and interpretive plans: what was missing was something to tie it all together. The Visitor Experience (VE) Strategy was born. It’s an ambitious, high-level kind …

The streets of Montevideo

Do your staff represent your community?

What are some common barriers to staff diversity in the heritage sector? “We only hire the most qualified people, and they just aren’t coming from those communities.” This is probably the most common copout, er, response from museum leadership: we only hire the best, regardless of what their background is, and the best just happen …

A Community Advisory Group

It is becoming a well-known—dare I say best—practice in the heritage sector for each organization to assemble a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) advisory group. If you haven’t done so yet, you might really give it some serious thought. Who are these people? A DEIA Advisory Circle (or whatever they choose to name themselves) …

Staring down the rabbit hole of change

I am an interpretive planner and visitor experience advisor. I work with museums, historic sites, zoos, aquariums, and parks helping them evaluate and improve their relevance, revenue, and attendance. In other words, you call someone like me when things aren’t going as well as they used to—or when you have a vision of how much …