What is heritage interpretation?

Heritage interpretation is a structured approach to non-formal education that is specialised in communicating – and even discussing – significant ideas about a (historic) place, city or site, to people, mostly people on leisure. It is  in many ways a dialogue, using different media types, images, texts, guides, storytellers, etc. This way it establishes a link between visitors, heritage institutuins, knowledge sources and what they can discover at a nature reserve, landscape, a historic city or site or a museum. Heritage interpretation is a form of storytelling and it connects people, places, times and information.

Good interpretation is always based on first-hand experience and often on personal contact with staff on site. Interpretation does four things:

  • it provokes visitors’ curiosity and interest in what may be an unfamiliar topic or theme
  • it relates the site or objects to visitors’ own knowledge, experience, background and values,
  • it reveals the significance of the site or objects which visitors can understand and appreciate, and
  • it helps people to enjoy a satisfying experience.

read more about its benefits for management and conservation as well as for visitors.

source: Interpret Europe, European Association for Heritage Interpretation


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