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"Watch Your Step"

 National Park Service - Visitors’ Center in Redwood National Park, California

A simple, brilliant and fun way to help visitors of all ages recognize animal footprints they may spot while walking in the park.  A box of sand can be imprinted with several different footprint ‘stamps’ mounted on wooden blocks labelled with the name of the corresponding animal.

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Upnor Castle - English Heritage

A great way to help visitors visualize an incomplete/faded drawing. Visitors could try to complete the outline of a ship found drawn on one of the castle’s walls using a piece of paper.

Once they were done, they could push a button to light up an outline of what the drawing once looked like to see how close they came! 

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Dome of the Reichstag in Berlin, Germany

As you walk up the spiral ramp to the top of Norman Foster’s dome, the free audio guide you are given senses your location on the walkway and describes the views and landmarks, and gives a bit of the history of the building.

The guide speaks to the user in the first person, giving instructions to stop at various points, to look to the left or the right, and gives visual cues.

Not only does the guide help focus visitors attention and make the walk up interesting- it also serves to regulate visitor flow up to the top of the dome as people.

Link

The Eppley Institute is Indiana University’s unique outreach program for the park, recreation and public land management professions and works to enhance the quality of natural, cultural, and recreational experiences for all people.  The Eppley Institute provides expertise in several areas, including technical assistance and research, planning and design, and training and education for the National Park Service and other similar organizations around the world.

Link

Is the idea of the ‘institutional voice’ in interpretation old fashioned? Director of UCL Museums on the reluctance towards authorship in museums.

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Wall label from Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, Oahu, HI.  In less than 60 words, they made me consider how this historic event mattered to the world, the nation I live in, and ultimately, to ME.Submission from Claudia, Msm Partners Consulting

Wall label from Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, Oahu, HI.  In less than 60 words, they made me consider how this historic event mattered to the world, the nation I live in, and ultimately, to ME.

Submission from Claudia, Msm Partners Consulting

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Spotted at Kew Gardens, London - a creative way of using text!
Giant clams can open and close the two halves of their shell”…s  l  o  w  l  y….”Spacing out the letters in this way almost forces visitors (particularly children) to read the word more slowly, placing emphasis on it and giving  visitors an opportunity to form a metal image of this giant shell very slowly creaking open… 

Spotted at Kew Gardens, London - a creative way of using text!

Giant clams can open and close the two halves of their shell”…s  l  o  w  l  y….”

Spacing out the letters in this way almost forces visitors (particularly children) to read the word more slowly, placing emphasis on it and giving  visitors an opportunity to form a metal image of this giant shell very slowly creaking open… 

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New life for old machines and old film

At Thomas Edison’s Laboratory in West Orange, NJ USA the machine shop has been preserved.  You can see the huge machines that are all powered by an overhead belt and pulley system.

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It’s old and dangerous and complicated to run, but over the years the NPS made films of old machinists running the equipment.  It was hard to get them out to the public until the invention of YouTube and the QR code.

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All you need is a QR Reader phone for your device of choice, or just click the link.

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At the Museum of Copenhagen, many of the displays focus on the benefits of the city’s increasingly diverse population - among them an increase in the variety of  types of food. This table is laid with blank white plates which are projected upon from above with various images of food.  As the plates fill with food that has its origins in different parts of the world, a description appears in the middle in both Danish and English. 

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Berkhamsted’s Grand Junction Canal

The Medieval Moor and Norman Castle

The tow paths along the Grand Junction Canal in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire are dotted with these unique metal relief interpretation panels.

Completed in 1798 the canal provided a link to London and transformed Berkhamsted into an inland boat building and transportation hub. Up until the Second World War the canal was a principal artery of the industrial revolution linking London with the West Midlands. Today the waterway is home to quiet pubs, parks and house boats.

Changing Berkhamsted

These panels tell the story of Berkhamsted beginning with the Norman castle that can still be found across from the railway station and go onto explore the impact of the canal on town.

The illustrations can also be collected by children through brass rubbings and are set low to the ground for access. Set in large rock bases they blend into the landscape while offering interesting stories and orientation.

Norman Castle

Canal view

Youth activities and funding panel

Interpretation funding was provided by the local Canal and Riverside Partnership, the Berkhamsted Community Partnership and Action for Market Towns. Unfortunately, the website the panels references seems to have been taken offline.

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National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Fun visual/tactile way of exploring the difference in fabric styles and materials available/traded between the UK and the East.

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

Fun visual/tactile way of exploring the difference in fabric styles and materials available/traded between the UK and the East.

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Horniman Museum and Gardens, Lewisham, London

The Horniman Museum’s gardens are divided into different plant groupings based on their uses. These catagories include:

Medicine, Food, Dyes, and Materials - allowing visitors to see how plants are and have been used for many different purposes, and how they relate to the collections.

The interpretive panels directly link some of the plants to specific items in the galleries, and encourage visitors to explore those connections by telling visitors where those objects can be found inside the museum, making use of an amazing opportunity to create links between the indoor and outdoor spaces, the natural and the ‘man made’.

Medicinal Garden
Planted in ten ‘body part’ sections, the Medicine Garden features a range of plants used to treat illness in different areas of our body. Some are local remedies that have persisted through time while others have formed the basis of modern medicines. 
 
Food Garden
A garden which celebrates the diversity food plants from countries all around the world which are grown in south London allotments. Find tips on for growing your own and stories about where your food comes from.
 
Dye Garden 
A traditional sunken garden space combining colourful annual bedding schemes with exhibition planting. Discover a huge array of natural plant dyes and the processes used to produce them.
 
Materials Garden
The materials garden features plants used by people around the world to make products as diverse as building materials to textiles and musical instruments. 

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Manzanar National Historic Site

In 1942, the United States government ordered more than 110,000 men, women, and children to leave their homes and detained them in remote, military-style camps. Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of ten camps where Japanese American citizens and resident Japanese aliens were interned during World War II.

When being transferred to the camps, each individual or family was issued a numbered tag by the army, which was used to identify their clothing and baggage.

This ‘ID Tag Station’ highlights the stories of 10 individual’s experiences in Manzanar. Visitors can select an individual’s tag, and find out about their experiences by matching the number on the tag to the same number on an object within the exhibition. 

While trying to match the individual to their object, visitors read other tagged objects in the exhibit and encounter a variety of experiences and perspectives.

(Source: )

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Discover Greenwich, London
Perhaps not the most accurate, but by far the most fun way of collecting visitor demographics I’ve ever come across.
Visitors can use the knobs to release a marble from the top and channel it into columns representing where they are from.

Discover Greenwich, London

Perhaps not the most accurate, but by far the most fun way of collecting visitor demographics I’ve ever come across.

Visitors can use the knobs to release a marble from the top and channel it into columns representing where they are from.

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 Hearst Castle, California

Visitors awaiting a tour can satisfy their need to ‘touch’ in a room of selected original objects and replicas.

This clever way of allowing visitors to physically engage with objects they will later see on their visit not only allows them to explore the materials - but as the samples are touched by hundreds of visitors they begin to show wear and signs of damage.

The deterioration of the items in the ‘touch’ room quite clearly emphasises the need for visitors to keep their hands off the rest of the collection.