Interpretation – tips and reflections


Interpreteller: combining storytelling with heritage interpretation

I believe interpreters are closely related to storytellers. I ‘invented’ the word ‘interpretelling’ year or so ago. Freshly arrived in Western Australia, I was preparing to deliver a keynote at the Museums Australia/Interpretation Australia Conference in Perth. One evening, somewhat dazzled by the experience of waking up to sunshine on three consecutive mornings, and fuelled by […]


Why this is one of my all-time favourite interpretation panels

I am a nerd. Not a techie nerd, or a social media nerd, or even a gadget nerd.  I am a panel nerd. I can’t resist them.  I am constantly looking to find, and create, really good ones. Panels are rather like gadgets, actually.  There are loads out there. Some are just plain useless and […]


Six things that help interpretation panels communicate better

Recently I was asked for some advice on how assess interpretation panels.  That made me think again about what makes a successful panel. Panels are very very popular, one of the most popular media in the interpreter’s toolkit.  They are also the most criticised. They are hard to get right and there are quite a […]


Talking and listening to find your story.

One of the joys of my work in heritage interpretation is that I often meet people with a compulsion to tell stories. They have a passion for their place that shows in the way they talk. Often they display that mastery of their content that is so vital. Listening to them can be inspiring and […]


Three storytelling secrets to improve your heritage interpretation

Interpretelling draws on the ancient art of storytelling to make contemporary heritage communication more effective. Storytelling contains several important lessons for interpreters. Here are three of them. 1. You must have mastery of your content Good storytellers know you must have to mastery of your content if you want to be clear, confident and creative about […]


How to use story to improve your heritage interpretation

Look around, listen, and you will find that story is everywhere – in conversation, in advertising, in business, religion, therapy, arts. Story is all around. It’s dazzling. It is powerful. Story is not simply an enduring tradition, it is at the heart of contemporary communication. Interpretation obviously needs a firm grasp of something this potent […]


Inheritance and legacy, stories in heritage interpretation

When I consider using story in interpretation, I am mining a vein of thought that has run deep through my 30 years in the interpretation business, constantly welling up into new ideas and questions. For me it has been and continues to be a rich seam. Look at/ listen to this. It is a voice from […]


My Closing Remarks from the AHI Conference 2012

It is hard to sum up a conference as good as that, especially before it’s over –  but I love an adrenalin surge. So when I was asked to compose the parting thoughts from the 2012 AHI Conference, I gave it my best shot. Happily, my spur-of the moment words seemed to hit a note with several […]


AHI Conference 2012 – Some interesting questions

So that’s the first workshop and the first set of keynote talks out of the way at this year’s Association for Heritage Interpretation.  All well delivered and full of provocation with plenty of relevance and some revelation. Sorry, that’s an ‘in joke’. A long time ago, 55 years ago to be precise,  an American journo wrote […]


Questions visitors ask – ask a curator day

I have written here about the question I asked on ask a curator day. It was about this piece of art I thought mine was a very obvious question. So I asked the room stewart/interpreter/guide/attendant whether lots of people asked that.  She masked her surprise well, I thought, and told me no one had ever […]