Interpretive Writing

John Veverka & Associates

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Interpretive Consultants

Provoke, Relate, Reveal and more!

For the Cutting edge in Heritage Interpretation

Interpretive Planning, Training, Evaluation and more!

World Wide

5010 Delray Dr. Lansing, Michigan 48910

(517) 899-4548 (we've gone mobile)

SKYPE: jvainterp

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From interpretive planning for castles in Wales for the National Trust and bird sanctuaries in Michigan for the Kellogg Biological Station, to interpretive training in Alabama for the US Army Corps of Engineers, and museum exhibit evaluation in Wisconsin - (bottom row) and critiquing ancient temples interpretation on Malta for Malta Heritage, prehistoric archaeological site interpretation in Utah for Nine Mile Canyon/BLM, and docent/interpretive staff training for the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, we do that - and more!

Heritage Interpretation: Interpretive Planning, Training and Consultation Services

Serving Parks, Museums, Historic Sites, Zoos & Botanical Gardens, Heritage Tourism Sites and Facilities, Commercial Tourism Attractions, and related interpretive sites and facilities -




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2003 Projects  Interpretive Services Library Interpretive Planning  Scenic Byways  Evaluation Links         Text Book     Training Video    Home Page



Interpretive Writing should Provoke, Relate, and Reveal! 

After writing several hundred interpretive plans, scads of museum label copy, bunches of text for outdoor interpretive panels, and a few text books and training manuals too - I think we have developed the skills to write copy that really connects with visitors!   For example, to get you in the mood for this page, the following is a small bit of copy from a recent project - a self-guiding historic district walking tour.  We strive to make sure that the text "provokes, relates, and reveals" - i.e. uses Tilden's Interpretive Principles.  Do you think from this brief bit of copy that this is a tour that you might enjoy going on?  This is stop #5 on the tour...


         The Jackson Clubs dark secret.

      In 1842, this was the location of the Jackson Club, a club, for Men Only!  This was the place where the elite of Jackson came to do business, visit, and talk about the news of the times.  And becoming a member was not easy – you had to be somebody important!

      Mike Sommerville was somebody!  Arriving in Jackson in 1843, he quickly developed a reputation as a powerful businessman, and was invited to become a member of the Jackson Club.  Mike served two terms as club president, and even helped increase the membership of this Men’s only organization.  A proud member for 25 years, it wasn’t until Mike’s death in 1869 that it was discovered – that Mike was really … Michelle – Yep! A Woman!

     Your next stop on the tour is just one block down this street on the right, a large white home, number 321.  It looks like an ordinary home, but there’s an extraordinary story buried in the garden.  I’ll meet you there with a shovel.


There are many kinds of Interpretive Writing:

- Technical Interpretive Writing for text books and published articles as well as interpretive master plans and related materials.

- Interpretive Training Manuals and Videos.

- Public Interpretive Writing for museum label copy, outdoor interpretive panels, self-guiding booklets, audio tour narration's and related interpretive media.

So what makes the writing interpretive?

In general here are the main rules we go by:

- The copy should be based on Tilden's interpretive principles.  That means the text should Provoke the readers attention, Relate to the everyday lives of the reader, and have Revelation or Reveal the main point of the text.

- Interpretive writing should be objective based, especially if we are writing copy for museum exhibits or outdoor interpretive panels.  We need to know the Learning, Behavioral, and Emotional Objectives the copy needs to help accomplish, along with any graphics or other supporting materials.

- Interpretive writing, especially for "public interpretation", such as museum labels, outdoor panels, self-guiding booklets, etc. should be EVALUATED and Pre-Tested with the visitors to make sure that the visitors understand the copy, vocabulary, etc. as well as the original writer did.  Interpretive writing is only good if the visitors think it is.


Interpretive writing services, examples and experience.

To learn more about our technical interpretive writing experiences and services (text books, training manuals), click here.

To learn more about our technical interpretive writing (my library of recently published interpretive articles from journals), etc., click here.

To learn more about our public writing for museum labels, outdoor interpretive panels, self-guiding media, etc., click here.