Part of saving our historic buildings is the ability to effectively convey their importance to others.
Audiences must care about a resource before they value the preservation of the resource.National Park Service, Tenets of Interpretation
Keeping it simple, interpretation is the act of conveying the “So What?” of a resource. Why is this place important? It is defined as communication that is specifically designed to reveal underlying meaning to the visitor through first-hand involvement with an object, a landscape, a natural feature, or a site. Interpretation can be done through a variety of mediums, from people-led activities like tours and demonstrations to solo resources like signage and exhibits.
Interpretive plans provide a roadmap for communicating the “So What”; They help identify the stories to tell and how to communicate those stories.
Example of a historic site:
Example of a historic downtown: Missoula Downtown Heritage Interpretive Plan
Links & Resources
- National Register Bulletin No. 45 “Telling the Stories: Planning Effective Interpretive Programs for Properties Listed in the National Register of Historic Places” (National Park Service)
- Interpretive Development Program (National Park Service)
- Interpretive Planning Tools for Heritage Areas, Historic Trails and Gateways (National Park Service)
- Foundations of Interpretation (National Park Service)
- The Interpretive Process Model (National Park Service)
- Messaging Guide for Local Preservation Programs (National Alliance of Preservation Commissions)