John Veverka & Associates
Provoke, Relate, Reveal and more!
For the Cutting edge in Heritage Interpretation
Interpretive Planning, Training, Evaluation and more!
5010 Delray Dr. Lansing, Michigan 48910
(517) 899-4548 (we've gone mobile) firstname.lastname@example.org
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 -
(Note: This paper is from a presentation at the National Scenic Byways Program National Conference, August, 1999, Louisville, KY).
Why Your Scenic Byway Cant
Succeed without "Real" Interpretation.
John A. Veverka
Heritage Interpretation & Tourism Planner
A Scenic Byway with out interpretation is just "another pretty road"!
At first this may sound dramatic that the success of a scenic byway depends on the amount of and quality of heritage interpretation associated with it. But that statement is in fact TRUE!
To byway users, especially those who have driven the route "before" it was designated a scenic byway, its just a road to get to and from someplace. For potential heritage tourists, it just might be a scenic route but they will see lots of those on their trips. So what makes this scenic byway so special? Thats the job and role of the byway interpretive plan, and byway interpretive media and services. It is the interpretive communications strategy that will help each visitor understand the unique and special stories associated with each unique byway. Interpretation reveals the story of the people, places and events that have occurred, or are occurring along the byway, and help guide visitors through a living museum of regional natural and cultural heritage. It changes the byway from being a "place" to being an edutainment experience. It gives the byway a totally unique character, personality and life. Without interpretation, its just a road!
What is Interpretation?
While you may have heard of "interpretation" and the need for it to be an essential part of the total byway planning and experience, you may not know exactly what interpretation, and interpretive communications is.
Interpretation is defined as "a communication process designed to REVEAL meanings and relationships of our cultural and natural heritage to the public, through first hand experiences with objects, artifacts, landscapes, or sites".
Information vs Interpretation Most byway "interpretation" is not really interpretive! It is just "information". Lots of facts, figures, pictures, dates, or other data arranged and presented to visitors via signage, brochures, cassette tapes, or other media given to visitors. In many cases it presents "answers to questions that visitors are not asking"!
Interpretive communication takes the "information" transforms and translates the information into "the language of the visitor". To be truly "interpretive", the message (interpretive panel, brochure, etc.) must follow the following criteria:
Interpretive Planning for Scenic Byways basic considerations.
In developing an interpretive plan for any scenic byway, the following areas are essential to the successful communication of the byway story to the visitors.
You see or hear interpretive communications in use every day!
It is important to remember where "interpretation" and interpretive communication has its roots. Interpretation communications techniques, principals, and practices come from the following professions and academic subject areas:
Interpretation and advertising: Based on the above, essentially every advertisement you see or hear is based on interpretive principles: ads must Provoke, Relate, and Reveal to the potential user: why they need this product or experience, how the product or experience will benefit them, and how easy to obtain or inexpensive the product is in relationship to its benefits. These are the same principals we use in developing interpretive plans and media. This is how we "market" the byway experience.
Ten reasons your byway needs "interpretation" to be successful.
Of course this depends on how you define "success". I define success based, in part, on how well the educational and tourism development objectives are accomplished. Here are my "ten reasons", not in any particular order of importance you need interpretation:
These are a few of the desired outcomes for a "successful" scenic byway interpretive program or plan. These outcomes will not happen without "interpretation"! So as Paul Harvey would say "now you know the rest of the story" as to why you need interpretation to have a truly successful scenic byway.
Veverka, John A. Interpretive Master Planning, 1994, Acron Naturalists, Tustin, CA.
Veverka, John A. "Interpretive Communications The Key to Successful Heritage Tourism Marketing, Planning and Program Design", 1998. Occasional paper presented at a number of interpretation and heritage tourism conferences in the US, Wales, England, and Scotland. (This and other interpretation articles are available for downloading at our LIBRARY found at our web site: www.heritageinterp.com.)
John Veverka, PO Box 189, Laingsburg, MI 48848 517/651-5441 E-Mail: email@example.com