Being there: 61 reasons why places matter to people

People go to wild and old places for loads of reasons ( and that’s excluding work reasons). Those of us who work to make their visits more enjoyable, satisfying and meaningful need to understand as many of those reasons as possible. (If you want to read more on this see here, here, here and, for […]


Touching sculpture two examples: a postscript from Cathy Lewis

There has been a great response to Cathy Lewis’s piece about the sensuous, tactile nature of sculpture so I felt I should share her postscript.  ‘Susan, I’d just finished writing this blog when I came across the link below.  Oh dear! Turn back the clocks. Put up the ‘DO NOT TOUCH’ signs. Employ Mrs Trunchball-like room […]


Getting touchy-feely with art

A sensual guest blog from Cathy Lewis MAHI, interpretive writer extraordinaire:  A recent visit to a sculpture gallery had me bursting into song. Sadly, the lyrics were from Grease, ‘Keep your filthy paws off my silky drawers…’ Why? Because this gallery, the former home of a sculptor, gave out its message loud and clear –‘Look, […]


Another interpretation panel I like

It’s hard to be a perfect blogger. Or a perfect interpretation panel writer. I had imagined writing a ‘panel of the month’ post, every month this year.  There was one in January and now here’s another.  (At this rate there’ll be three ‘panels of the month’ this year.) So, I am not perfect. Neither is […]


Having a laugh at heritage sites

Someone told me last week that their organisation had researched what people wanted from a day out at a heritage site and that ‘having a laugh’ was one of the top five answers. I wasn’t (and am not) totally convinced. I wish I knew more about that research – what exactly was the question? and […]


Points of balance – interpreting current conflict at the National Army Museum

A month or so I wrote a blog about why interpreters need to tackle difficult and contentious subjects which, rather flatteringly, attracted discussion (see here and here). A lot of people made interesting and thought-provoking comments particularly about the need for neutrality and balance.  It occured to me that, like wisdom, balance may be easier […]


Why Now is so good for Heritage Interpretation

Now is a good time to be in this interpretation business.  It’s an exciting time to be a heritage interpreter.  It often feels like the best time in my 30 plus years in the business. There is a lot of new stuff going on.  We have a lot of new challenges to think about. Which […]



Interpreting geology creatively – with a cuddly coelocanth

Interpreting geology in a way that really engages people’s imagination can be difficult. It may call for a crochet hook and felting needle. Getting people excited about rocks is not that easy.  The stories they hold come from so long ago and are so deeply buried.  We know they are the fabric of our landscape […]


Do you need a heritage interpreter?

You almost certainly need a heritage interpreter if you have some natural or human heritage that you want to tell people about. What could a heritage interpreter do for you? Do you need one? What good do they do?   Any business that has heritage at its core could probably benefit from a bit of […]