Preservation > Interpretation
To have interpretation include the critical presentation of collection
stewardship, which includes the preservation process and resulting
treatments. Conduct interpretation for the edification of the
Society itself (as a sustained self-assessment and ongoing post
mortem of actions) and in context of the collection
to express the value and meaning of these actions to further
understanding and commitment to an engaged, participatory public.
"William Alderson and Shirley Payne Low, authors of Interpretation
of Historic Sites, define interpretation as the communication
of the "essential meaning of the site and of the people and
events associated with it," and see it as an obligation on
those who preserve historic places as trustees for present and
William T. Alderson and Shirley Payne Low, Interpretation of
Historic Sites. Nashville, TN: American Association for State
and Local History, 1976, p. 6.
Paul H. Risk, of Yale University, defines interpretation as "the
translation of the technical or unfamiliar language of the environment
into lay language, with no loss in accuracy, in order to create
and enhance sensitivity, awareness, understanding, appreciation,
and commitment." For Risk, "the goal of interpretation
is a change in behavior of those for whom we interpret."
Paul H. Risk, "Interpretation: A Road to Creative Enlightenment,"
17, No. 2 (1994), pp. 37, 40.
Tenet 1 - [Historic] resources possess meanings and have significance.
Tenet 2 - The visitor is seeking something of value for themselves.
Tenet 3 - Interpretation, then, facilitates a connection between
the interests of the visitor and the meanings of the resource.
National Park Service, "Fulfilling the NPS Mission: The
Process of Interpretation," Module 101, Interpretive Development
"Interpretation has to be based on authentic qualities of
the object. And if we want to pass down the objects to posterity
as true documents, we have to care very much for the original
substance. The extent to which this is spared during particular
operations in conservation will depend very much on interpretation,
mostly that by the conservator."
Jedrzejewska, Hanna. Ethics in Conservation, Stockholm,
1976. [Download as PDF format file.]
the Stories: Planning Effective Interpretive Programs for Places
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NR Bulletin),
by Ron Thomson, Interpretive Consultant, Oneonta, New York and
Marilyn Harper, Historian, National Park Service 2000
Jessup, Wendy Claire, ed. Conservation in Context: Finding
a Balance for the Historic House Museum, Washington, DC: National
Trust for Historic Preservation, 1995.
Ferry Center, National Park
Since 1970, Harpers Ferry Center in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia,
has created a variety of interpretive tools to assist NPS field
interpreters. These tools include publications, wayside exhibits,
audiovisual programs, museum exhibits, and historic furnishings.
The Center also provides a variety of services: interpretive
planning, conservation of objects, audiovisual equipment repair,
graphics research, replacement of wayside exhibits, and the
revision and reprinting of publications.