Interpretation is the process of communicating the meaning and significance of an object, a place or an area to people. It’s basically story telling, bringing a place or object alive so that you can share what makes it special with others and help them enjoy and understand it better.
The father of interpretation was Freeman Tilden. He was an American journalist who worked on London’s Evening Standard newspaper before returning to the United States to join the National Parks Service where he developed the process we now call interpretation. He put forward three guiding principles for successful interpretation – that it should provoke interest, reveal meanings and relationships and relate to the everyday lives of the audience. Nowadays most people add a fourth principle – that interpretation should also help people to enjoy their visit.
‘Good interpretation needs at its heart…. an enthusiasm and love for a place and a desire to share that with others.’ James Carter, 2001.
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